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Friday, January 8, 2010

Yamasaki, Inc. Closes

The Detroit Free Press reports that Yamasaki, Inc. has closed. This is the end of one of modern architecture's most illustrious American firms. Founded by Minoru Yamasaki in 1959, the firm's name is found on the drawings for the ill-fated World Trade Center as well as many significant modernist designs.

The firm marked the departure of Yamasaki from the Detroit-based firm Hellmuth, Yamasaki & Leinweber, which Yamasaki had founded in 1949 with St. Louisan George Hellmuth and Joseph Leinweber. The three had worked together at Detroit firm Smith Hinchman & Grylls. Hellmuth, Yamasaki & Leinweber left a tremendous impact in St. Louis, designing the terminal at Lambert Airport (1956) and most of the St. Louis Housing Authority's projects from the early postwar era, including the Pruitt-Igoe project (1954). When the firm split, Hellmuth created the firm Hellmuth Obata Kassabaum in St. Louis, which went on to become the world's largest architectural firm and continues to be a giant among American firms.


Andrew J. Faulkner said...

Word on the street has it that the last employees were laid off by email, many employees haven't been paid for months and that the corporate headquarters of the firm has been located at the CEO's Dubai condo for almost a year. It sounds like a nasty situation up in Detroit and an ignoble end to a significant modernist firm.

Anonymous said...


surprised the weren't able to sell to someone like SMITHGroup or AECOM

Anonymous said...

I have dealt with them what a mess it was. It was coming to the end.