March 23 2017 01:21 PM

Author offers lecture at newly-renovated CADL downtown branch


THURSDAY, March 23 — Susan J. Bandes, author of “Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie,” offers a presentation on “Mid-Michigan: Lansing Architects and Their Clients” 7 p.m. tonight at the newly renovated downtown branch of the Capitol Area District Library, one of Lansing’s most distinctive modernist structures. The building is the work of Kenneth Black, a Lansing architect.

Bandes, who teaches art history and is director of museum studies at MSU, also was one of the curators of the “Minds of Modernism” exhibit, which is on display at the Michigan Historical Museum. Bandes’ book will be available for purchase.

In her book, Bandes has collected photographs, documents and oral histories featuring more than 130 modernist structures that were built in the East Lansing, Okemos and the Lansing area between 1940 and 1970. Included are homes, offices and sacred places you may drive by every day without knowing the story behind the building.

For example, the Michigan Medical Society building, located near the corner of Abbot Road and Saginaw Street in East Lansing, is a classic example of modernism. It was designed by the architect of the World Trade Center, Minoru Yamasaki.

One classic example of a home designed in the modernist vein is the soaring “airplane house” on Moores River Drive, which was designed for the aviator/entrepreneur Talbert Abrams and built to look like a plane from above.

Longtime Lansing residents also will remember the Lieberman’s gift shop. The building, on Washington Square, is the only commercial structure designed by George Nelson, a lead designer for Herman Miller.

The Minds of Modernism exhibit includes architectural drawings, building models, and representative commercial products from noted designers that reflect the Modernist era. The exhibit was curated by the State Archives, the Michigan Historical Museum and Susan Bandes.

For more information on the Historical Society go to