Minoru Yamasaki

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Minoru Yamasaki
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{{short description|American architect}}

| native_name_lang = ja| image = Minoru Yamasaki.jpg| caption = | nationality = American19121}}Seattle, Washington (state)>Washington, U.S.1986612|1}}| death_place = Detroit, Michigan, U.S.| spouse = Teruko Hirashiki| children = 3| alma_mater = University of Washington, New York University| practice = | significant_buildings = Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Torre Picasso, Rainier Tower, IBM Building (Seattle)>IBM Building, World Trade Center, Pruitt–Igoe| significant_design = Inspiration by Gothic architecture and usage of narrow vertical windows}}{{Nihongo|Minoru Yamasaki|山崎 實|Yamasaki Minoru|1 December 1912 – 6 February 1986}}NEWS, Rimer, Sara, February 9, 1986, Minoru Yamasaki, Architect of World Transit Center, Dies,weblink The New York Times, November 22, 2016, NEWS, Murphy, Dean, February 9, 1986, Architect Minoru Yamasaki Dies at 73: Designs Include Century Plaza Towers, N.Y. World Trade Center,weblink The Los Angeles Times, November 22, 2016, NEWS,weblink World Trade Center architect's grave, Flickr, 2018-07-01, en-us, was an American architect, best known for designing the original World Trade Center in New York City and several other large-scale projects.MAGAZINE,weblink The Encyclopedia of 9/11: Yamasaki, Minoru: An architect whose legacy didn’t work out as he’d planned, August 27, 2011, New York (magazine), New York, Justin Davidson, Yamasaki was one of the most prominent architects of the 20th century. He and fellow architect Edward Durell Stone are generally considered to be the two master practitioners of "New Formalism".WEB, Architecture and Design of the Music Center,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, October 11, 2014, Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, March 30, 2011, ; excerpting from HABS documentation: WEB, Los Angeles Music Center,weblink Historic American Building Survey,

Early life and education

Yamasaki was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of John Tsunejiro Yamasaki and Hana Yamasaki, Japanese descendants.WEB, Walt, Crowley, 3 March 2003,weblink Yamasaki, Minoru (1912-1986), Seattle-born architect of New York's World Trade Center,, 2012-11-17, The family later moved to Auburn, Washington and he graduated from Garfield Senior High School in Seattle. He enrolled in the University of Washington program in architecture in 1929, and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) in 1934.NEWS, Architect Named for Trade Center,, The New York Times, Milton Esterow, 21 September 1962, During his college years, he was strongly encouraged by faculty member Lionel Pries. He earned money to pay for his tuition by working at an Alaskan salmon cannery.NEWS, Center Will Reflect Architectural Collaboration,weblink The New York Times,, January 19, 1964, After moving to New York City in the 1930s, he enrolled at New York University for a master's degree in architecture and got a job with the architecture firm Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, designers of the Empire State Building. In 1945, Yamasaki moved to Detroit, where he was hired by Smith, Hinchman & Grylls.NEWS, Pools, Domes, Yamasaki - Debate, Huxtable, Ada Louise, The New York Times, November 25, 1962,weblink subscription, The firm helped Yamasaki avoid internment as a Japanese-American during World War II, and he himself sheltered his parents in New York City.WEB,weblink Minoru Yamasaki 1912-,, 2012-03-15, Yamasaki left the firm in 1949, and started his own partnership. One of the first projects he designed at his own firm was Ruhl's Bakery at 7 Mile Road and Monica Street in Detroit.Interview with owner's daughter. Original architectural drawings donated to the University of Michigan. In 1964, Yamasaki received a D.F.A. from Bates College.His firm, Yamasaki & Associates, closed on December 31, 2009.NEWS, John, Gallagher,weblink A Once Eminent Firm Meets a Bitter End, Archit. Rec., Architectural Record,, 28 January 2010, 2012-11-17,


His first internationally recognized design, the Pacific Science Center with its iconic arches, was constructed by the City of Seattle for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. His first significant project was the Pruitt–Igoe housing project in St. Louis, Missouri, 1955. Despite his love of Japanese traditional design, this was a stark, modernist concrete structure. The housing project experienced so many problems that it was demolished in 1972, less than twenty years after its completion. Its destruction is considered by some to be the beginning of postmodern architecture.In 1955, he also designed the "sleek" terminal at Lambert–St. Louis International Airport which led to his 1959 commission to design the Dhahran International Airport in Saudi Arabia. In the 1950s, Yamasaki was commissioned by the Reynolds Company to design an aluminum-wrapped building in Southfield, Michigan, which would "symbolize the auto industry's past and future progress with aluminum."NEWS, Reynolds Review, 1959, Reynolds Review (company magazine), Reynolds Metals Papers, Virginia Historical Society, The three-story glass building wrapped in aluminum, known as the Reynolds Metals Company's Great Lakes Sales Headquarters Building, was also supposed to reinforce the company's main product and showcase its admirable characteristics of strength and beauty.JOURNAL, Ong Yan, Grace, 2012, Wrapping Aluminum at the Reynolds Metals Company, Design and Culture, 4, 3, 299-323, During this period, he created a number of office buildings which led to his innovative design of the {{convert|1360|ft|m|abbr=on}} towers of the World Trade Center in 1964, which began construction March 21, 1966.Remarks by the Hon. Richard J. Hughes, World Trade Center Press Conference, New York Hilton Hotel, Jan. 18, 1964 The first of the towers was finished in 1970.WEB, History of the Twin Towers, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 2014-12-12,weblink Many of his buildings feature superficial details inspired by the pointed arches of Gothic architecture, and make use of extremely narrow vertical windows. This narrow-windowed style arose from his own personal fear of heights.BOOK, City in the sky: the rise and fall of the World Trade Center, Glanz, James, Eric, Lipton, Macmillan, 2003, 978-0-8050-7428-4, harv,weblink 109, One particular design challenge of the World Trade Center's design related to the efficacy of the elevator system, which was unique in the world. Yamasaki integrated the fastest elevators at the time, running at 1,700 feet per minute. Instead of placing a large traditional elevator shaft in the core of each tower, Yamasaki created the Twin Towers' "Skylobby" system. The Skylobby design created three separate, connected elevator systems which would serve different segments of the building, depending on which floor was chosen, saving approximately 70% of the space used for a traditional shaft. The space saved was then used for office space.Remarks by Lee K. Jaffee, World Trade Center Press Conference, New York Hilton Hotel, January 18, 1964In 1978, Yamasaki designed the Federal Reserve Bank tower in Richmond, Virginia. The work was designed with a similar appearance as the World Trade Center complex, with its narrow fenestration, and now stands at {{convert|394|ft|m|abbr=on}}.WEB,weblink Federal Reserve Bank Building, Richmond {{!, 130661 {{!}} EMPORIS|last=GmbH|first=Emporis||access-date=2018-09-11}}WEB,weblink Federal Reserve Bank {{!, Architecture Richmond||language=en-US|access-date=2018-09-11}}Yamasaki was a member of the Pennsylvania Avenue Commission, created in 1961 to restore the grand avenue in Washington, D.C., but resigned after disagreements and disillusionment with the design by committee approach.NEWS, N.Y.C. Architectural Ups and Downs,weblink Huxtable, Ada Louise, 2 February 1964,, The New York Times, After partnering with Emery Roth and Sons on the design of the World Trade Center, they collaborated on other projects including new buildings at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.NEWS, 2 Firms Are Welding Abilities to Plan World Trade Center,weblink Robbins, William,, The New York Times, 26 March 1967, 2012-11-17, The campus for the University of Regina was designed in tandem with Yamasaki's plan for Wascana Centre, a park built around Wascana Lake in Regina, Saskatchewan. The original campus design was approved in 1962. Yamasaki was awarded contracts to design the first three buildings: the Classroom Building; the Laboratory Building; and the Dr. John Archer Library, which were built between 1963 and 1967.W.A. Riddell. The First Decade, 1960-1970. Regina: University of Regina, 1974. pp.91-95.Yamasaki designed two notable synagogues during this period, North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Illinois in 1964 and Temple Beth El, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan in 1973. He designed a number of buildings on the campus of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota between 1958 and 1968.WEB, Why is my Dorm so Ugly?,weblink 24 February 2009, Carleton College, 2012-11-17,

Personal life

Yamasaki was first married in 1941 and had two other marriages before remarrying his first wife in 1969. He died of stomach cancer in 1986.WEB,weblink Minoru Yamasaki Biography (Architect) —,, 2012-03-15, His son, Taro Yamasaki, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer.


File:Pruitt-Igoe-overview.jpg|The former Pruitt–Igoe housing project, St. Louis 1954 (demolished 1972-1976)File:MPRCOpeningBuilding1955.jpg|The Military Personnel Records Center in St. Louis (1955)File:McGregor Center Wayne State Univ A.JPG|McGregor Memorial Conference Center at Wayne State University, Detroit 1958File:PacScienceCenterNight1.jpg|Pacific Science Center, Seattle 1962File:OneWoodwardAvenue.JPG|One Woodward Avenue, Detroit 1962File:Irwin Library Butler Univ.jpg|Irwin Library at Butler University, Indianapolis 1963File:Oberlin_Conservatory of Music - facade 2.jpg|The Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio 1963File:ING Building in Minneapolis, Minnesota.jpg|Northwestern National Life Building, Minneapolis 1965File:M&T Plaza.jpg|One M&T Plaza, Buffalo, New York 1966File:CenturyPlazaHotel.jpg|Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles, California, 1966File:World Trade Center, New York City - aerial view (March 2001).jpg|The former World Trade Center 1970-1971 (destroyed in 2001)File:Horace_Mann_Educators_Corporation.jpg|Horace Mann Educators Corporation, Springfield Illinois, 1972WEB,weblink Horace Mann corporate headquarters doubles as architectural landmark, The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Illinois, 2 February 2017, 5 September 2015, File:TempleBethElBloomfieldHillsMi.jpg|Temple Beth El, Bloomfield Township, Michigan 1973File:CenturyPlazaTowers.jpg|Century Plaza Towers, Los Angeles, 1975File:The_BOK_Building.jpg|BOK Tower, Tulsa, 1975File:Rainier Tower Seattle Washington.jpg|Rainier Tower, Seattle 1977File:Federal_Reserve_Bank,_Richmond,_Virginia.jpg|Federal Reserve Bank, Richmond, 1978File:100 Washington Square Minneapolis 1.jpg|100 Washington Square, Minneapolis 1982File:Torre Picasso (Madrid) 10.jpg|Torre Picasso, Madrid 1988

Honors and Legacy

  • Yamasaki was elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1960.
  • Yamasaki won the American Institute of Architects' First Honor Award three times.
  • Featured as the cover story of TIME on 18 January 1963.JOURNAL, Art: The Road to Xanadu, 18 Jan 1963,weblink cover, LXXXI, 3, Time,
  • Researchers can access archival evidence of Yamasaki's work in The papers of Minoru Yamasaki at the Walter P. Reuther Library. Available materials include correspondence on projects, travel, communications with associates, speaking invitations, and involvement in professional organizations. Early architectural drawings, speeches and writings, photographs, awards and doctoral degrees, scrapbooks detailing the progress of his career, and various publications are also included.

See also




  • Yamasaki, Minoru, A Life in Architecture, Weatherhill, NY 1979 {{ISBN|0-8348-0136-1}}
  • Nobel, Philip, Sixteen Acres: The rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, Granta, London 2005 {{ISBN|1-86207-713-4}}

External links

{{Commons category}} {{Minoru Yamasaki}}{{Detroit architects}}{{World Trade Center}}{{Authority control}}

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