Ten days ago the chief financial officer of Minoru Yamasaki's successor firm, Yamasaki Associates in Troy, Michigan, announced that the firm was going out of business and all employees had been terminated as of December 31, with the offices to close by the end of January. The firm faces numerous lawsuits and default judgements from contractors, consultants, and employees totaling millions of dollars.
Yesterday the Oakland County Sheriff's Office seized the office and its contents and intends to auction the property if back taxes aren't paid (and they won't be).
My concern is for the firm's archives, which are said to be extensive and covering the years when Yamasaki was one of the most prominent architects in the country. Its contents could include materials pertaining to the World Trade Center, the Pruitt-Igoe housing development, and the MacGregor Conference Center at Wayne State University, among other projects.
Does anyone have any advice on how to proceed, or know an individual or institution that might want to get involved?
Dale Allen Gyure, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Architecture
Lawrence Technological University
21000 West Ten Mile Road
Southfield, MI 48075-1058
(o) 248.204.2925 (f) 248.204.2929
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Judith York-Newman, a friend of the Paul Rudolph Foundation, alerted us to the following post on the Society of Architectural Historians' listserv:
Mr. Yamasaki's work is a significant contribution to modernist architecture, his unique style having come to be known as "Romanticized Modernism." The potential loss of the firm's archives - either sold to collectors as individual drawings or destroyed entirely - will have a detrimental affect on the future preservation of the architect's work.
The Paul Rudolph Foundation knows first hand the difficulties of preserving architectural works when little documentation is available for concerned preservationists or potential owners wishing to find copies of original details to aid in restoration work. If you know of an individual or organization that could help keep Mr. Yamasaki's archives together, please contact the Paul Rudolph Foundation at email@example.com or Dale Gyure at firstname.lastname@example.org.