Minoru Yamasaki: Wikis


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Minoru Yamasaki
Personal information
Name Minoru Yamasaki
Nationality American
Birth date December 1, 1912(1912-12-01)
Birth place Seattle, Washington, United States
Date of death February 7, 1986 (aged 73)
Place of death Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, United States
Alma mater New York University
Buildings The twin towers of the World Trade Center
Projects World Trade Center
Design Inspiration by Gothic architecture and use of extremely narrow vertical windows
Awards American Institute of Architects' First Honor Award

Minoru Yamasaki (山崎實 Yamasaki Minoru?, December 1, 1912 – February 7, 1986) was an American architect of Japanese descent, best known for his design of the twin towers of the World Trade Center buildings 1 and 2. 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 "romanticized modernism".



The former World Trade Center
The Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College, designed by Yamasaki in 1963. The distinctive style is similar to Yamasaki's design of the World Trade Center.

Yamasaki, born in Seattle, Washington, was a second-generation Japanese American. He grew up in Auburn, Washington and attended Auburn Senior High School.[citation needed] He enrolled in the University of Washington program in architecture in 1929, and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) in 1934.[1] 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.[2]

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 and Harmon, designers of the Empire State Building. In 1945, Yamasaki moved to Detroit, where he was hired by Smith, Hinchman, and Grylls.[3] Yamasaki left the firm in 1949, and started his own partnership.[3] In 1964 Yamasaki received a D.F.A. from Bates College.

Yamasaki was first married in 1941 and had two other wives before marrying his first wife again in 1969. He died of stomach[citation needed] cancer in 1986. His firm, Yamasaki & Associates, closed on December 31, 2009.[4]


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.

He also designed several "sleek" international airport buildings and was responsible for the innovative design of the 1,360 foot (415 m) towers of the World Trade Center, for which design began in 1965, and construction in 1972. Many of his buildings are loosely inspired by Gothic architecture and make use of extremely narrow vertical windows. This narrow-windowed style arose from his own personal fear of heights.[2]

Yamasaki was an original member of the Pennsylvania Avenue Commission, which was tasked with restoring the grand avenue in Washington, D.C., but resigned after disagreements and disillusionment with the design by committee approach.[5]

After teaming up with Emery Roth and Sons on the design of the World Trade Center, they teamed up again on other projects including new defense buildings at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.[6]


Structures designed by Minoru Yamasaki


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Esterow, Milton (September 21, 1962). "Architect Named for Trade Center". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b "Center Will Reflect Architectural Collaboration". The New York Times. January 19, 1964. 
  3. ^ a b Huxtable, Ada Louise (November 25, 1962). "Pools, Domes, Yamasaki - Debate". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Gallagher, John. "A Once Eminent Firm Meets a Bitter End", Architectural Record, 28 January 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  5. ^ Huxtable, Ada Louise (February 2, 1964). "N.Y.C. Architectural Ups and Downs". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Robbins, William (March 26, 1967). "2 Firms Are Welding Abilities to Plan World Trade Center". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Vivian M. Baulch (August 14, 1998). "Minoru Yamasaki, world-class architect". The Detroit News. http://info.detnews.com/redesign/history/story/historytemplate.cfm?id=206. Retrieved 2007-11-23. 
  8. ^ Carleton College Facilities Management (undated). "Historical Building Information". Carleton College. http://apps.carleton.edu/campus/facilities/property/historical/. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  9. ^ Massport (undated). "2002 EDR Logan International Airport" (PDF). Massport. http://www.massport.com/about/pdf/09_Mitigation.pdf. Retrieved 2007-07-11. 
  10. ^ "Yamasaki, Minoru". architectureka.com. 2009. http://architectureka.com/yamasakiminoru.html. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  11. ^ "Minoru Yamasaki Biography". Biography Base. http://www.biographybase.com/biography/Yamasaki_Minoru.html. Retrieved 4 March 2010. 
  12. ^ "MSMS". http://www.msms.org/. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 

Other references

  • Yamasaki, Minoru, A Life in Architecture, Weatherhill, NY 1979 ISBN 0834801361
  • Nobel, Philip, Sixteen Acres: The rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, Granta, London 2005 ISBN 1-86207-713-4

External links


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