Property: 120 W. Saginaw St.
Designed by Detroit-area architects Minoru Yamasaki & Associates, this building has served as the headquarters for the Michigan State Medical Society since its completion in 1961. Yamasaki was known for his work in developing the style known as New Formalism, which rejected the severe forms of the then-popular International Style. The mid-century style recalls earlier, classical buildings, while updating them in new materials, employing new technologies.
Unlike typical examples of the style, this building does not have a symmetrical front elevation, though the asymmetries are concealed by the colonnades running along the primary and rear elevations. Other characteristics of the style, including the heavy eave projection and the repeated arch motif, are prominently featured. The classical elements are simplified and stylized. Tall, slender columns rise from a strong base podium and divide large glass windows. At the top, the columns are capped by a series of cast concrete arches, perhaps recalling the curled volutes of Ionic capitals.
Yamasaki, whose is best known for his design of the World Trade Center towers, also completed the addition to the Medical Society headquarters in 1991. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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