Wayne State University Engineering Building

People: Suren Pilafian

Date: 1949

City: Detroit

Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, photo by Rob Yallop.

The original section of the Wayne State University Engineering Building, which is the rectangular structure along the north side of the present College of Engineering facility, was completed in 1952. This structure was originally supposed to be the first phase of a complex of six interconnected buildings all designed by Suren Pilafian and his partner Frank Montana. Due to a lack of funds, the College of Engineering remained in its original structure until 1987, when the university finally was able to finance a major expansion that bore no resemblance to the original plan.


Pilafian designed the original section of the Engineering Building to bear much resemblance to his first building for the university, State Hall. The exterior walls are of light brick with large expanses of clear glass windows that run along the north side and are almost identical to the window expanses that run along all sides of State Hall. The rounded-edge roof canopy over the corner entrance, supported by a brick slab, is another architectural feature carried over from State Hall to the Engineering Building.


(Text excerpted from the Wayne State University Walking Tour script developed by the City of Detroit Historic Designation Advisory Board staff.)