Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments

Minoru Yamasaki

Michigan Consolidated Gas Company Building (1962)

Minoru Yamasaki FAIA, Architect

One Woodward Avenue, Detroit MI 48226

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McGregor Memorial Conference Center (1958)

Minoru Yamasaki Architect

On the campus of Wayne State University Detroit MI

Visited September 20 , 2013 as part of the Detroit Design Festival

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One of Yamasaki’s early buildings ( and I think one of his best) is the McGregor Memorial Conference Center. It is located on the campus of Wayne State University, along with 3 other buildings by him designed and built later.

Click here for my photos from an architectural tour of the other Yamasaki buildings.


De Roy Auditorium (1964)

Minoru Yamasaki, Architect

Wayne State University Campus

5203 Cass Avenue, Detroit, MI

Aerial View and Map

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Photos from October 17, 2010

The Helen L. DeRoy Auditorium has been described as “A Decorated International Style Box” . It was designed and constructed with the adjacent  Prentis Building and is connected with an underground passage. This pavilion stands proudly in a shallow reflecting pool (which unfortunately  is usually “dry”). The doors and fixed glazing on the opposing short sides is the only façade fenestration. These entrances are linked to the campus with bridges over the moat surrounding the building. The simplicity and elegance of  the gothic form tracery pattern wraps the plain box, creating a pleasing pattern especially when the sunlight casts deep shadows. It’s simple rectangular form provides no indication of the buildings use- it could as easily be a jewel box, temple or mausoleum.

This is one of several buildings by Yamasaki on the Wayne State University Campus. The De Roy Auditorium is visible from Cass Ave. through the open arcade in the Prentis Building. The other Yamasaki Buildings are within easy walking distance. Do not miss the McGregor Memorial Conference Center, as it is one of his masterpieces.

If you build up an appetite after all that walking, consider stopping by the Midtown Shangri-la restaurant a few blocks down Cass at Forest. Although Yamasaki was born in Seattle, he was a second generation Japanese American. Shangri-la, although billed as a chinese restaurant, they also have excellent sushi to keep your Yamasaki tour on theme (try the shrimp tempura roll and the kanpyo roll made by Tony, the sushi chef. If you are thirsty, bartender Beaux makes the best Negroni cocktail in town).

Yamasaki Bio from the Detroit News


Oberlin Conservatory of Music (1963)

Minoru Yamasaki, Architect

39 West College Street  Oberlin, OH

on the campus of the Oberlin College and Conservatory

Aerial View and Map

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Visited June 2, 2011

Minoru Yamasaki, the famed architect that is probably best known for designing the World Trade Center twin towers, designed this cluster of 3 buildings for Oberlin in 1963. His buildings at Wayne State University in Detroit are more successful, but have posted these for reference.