A native of Illinois, Fredricks was a student of the Swedish sculptor Carl Milles and taught at the Cranbrook Academy of Art from 1932 to 1942. He produced a large body of public art including Belle Isle’s Barbour Memorial Fountain (1936) in Detroit. His work is known nationwide.
Giffels & Rossetti
Raymond Giffels worked for architect Albert Kahn before forming Giffels & Vallet in the 1920s. He partnered with LouisRossetti, Sr. in 1928. Known for their public buildings, they designed the former main terminal of Detroit Metropolitan Airport (1958) and Detroit’s United States Post Office Building (1961). Notable examples of their work in the Detroit area are the Jeffersonian Apartments (1965) and Federal Mogul building in Southfield (1966).
Harley, Ellington & Day (1943-60);
Harley, Ellington, Cowin & Stirton (1960–)
Alvin Harley and Harold Ellington joined forces in 1933 during the Great Depression and found work designing for the Stroh Brewery Company. Clarence Day became a partner in 1943. One of the most prominent Modern architectural firms in Michigan, they designed the south wing addition to the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1966. The firm also designed the International style Department of State Building in Washington, D.C. (1957–60).
Albert Kahn Associates
Albert Kahn began his practice in 1895 and became the architect for automaker Henry Ford, designing dozens of factory buildings. The River Rouge Glass Plant (1922) in Detroit and the Warren Tank Arsenal (1940) are cited as inspiring Modernism. Kahn’s work influenced the architect Le Corbusier and was a foundation for the creation of the International style. After Kahn’s death in 1942 the firm continued designing some of the Detroit area’s outstanding Modern buildings.
King & Lewis
Harry S. King and Maxwell Lewis joined forces in 1960. King trained at Wayne State University and the Lawrence Institute of Technology, while Lewis was from New York University College. The firm was responsible for a number of Modern apartment buildings, hotels and shopping centers in Michigan, including Huron Towers (1960) in Ann Arbor and the Pontchartrain Hotel (1965) and Lafayette Park Shopping Center in Detroit.
At the request of Minoru Yamasaki, this Italian sculptor and painter created outdoor bronze sculpture for the McGregor Memorial Conference Center at Wayne State University in Detroit in 1958. He is best known for the Portal of Death located at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome.
Born in Los Angeles, Noguchi’s interest in sculpture led him to Paris to study with the artist Constantin Brancusi. A 1938 commission for a statue at the Rockefeller Center in New York City jump started his career. Imprisoned in a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II, he became an internationally acclaimed sculptor and designer in the post-war years. Noguchi is known for the iconic wood and glass coffee table he designed for the Herman Miller Furniture Company of Zeeland, Michigan, in 1947.
O’Dell, Hewlett, & Luckenbach Associates
Detroit native Augustus O’Dell partnered with Wirt Rowland, the designer of Detroit’s Guardian Building, from 1932 to 1938. Owen Luckenbach once worked for Smith, Hinchman and Grylls. After joining Thomas Hewlett, this Birmingham, Michigan-based firm designed many Modern buildings in the Detroit area including Ford Auditorium (1956; demolished 2011), two Cranbrook gymnasiums (1959 and 1964), and the Pontiac Silverdome (1975).
Louis G. Redstone Associates
Redstone was introduced to the construction trades as a member of the Pioneer State Youth Group in Palestine after emigrating from Poland in 1920. He graduated from the University of Michigan and the Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he studied under Eliel Saarinen. Redstone specialized in shopping center design and partnered with Victor Gruen Associates to develop Westland Mall, Michigan’s first enclosed mall built by the J. L. Hudson Corporation in 1965.
Smith, Hinchman & Grylls
Smith, Hinchman & Grylls’ origins date to 1853. The firm’s preWorld War II work includes Detroit’s most notable Art Deco skyscrapers. In the mid-1940s, the firm turned to contemporary designs, assisted by its chief designer, Minoru Yamasaki. The firm continues to operate as the SmithGroup.
Minoru Yamasaki & Associates
Minoru Yamasaki, a Japanese immigrant from Seattle, came to Detroit in 1945 to become chief of design for Smith, Hinchman & Grylls. He later co-founded Leinweber, Yamasaki & Hellmuth and designed the Lambert-St. Louis Municipal Air Terminal (1956) along with several Detroit buildings before founding his own practice in Troy in 1959. He is most well known for the World Trade Center (1971) in New York City. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Detroit Branch Annex (1949-51) designed by Yamasaki was Detroit’s first curtain wall building, leading the way for other Modern buildings.
Available at your local book store and online.
Michigan Modern in Print
“Great historical review of the much under- appreciated Detroit/ Midland area Architects and designers. Written by extremely knowledgeable writers.”
The Great Lakes State has always been known for its contributions to twentieth-century manufacturing, but it’s only beginning to receive wide attention for its contributions to Modern design and architecture.