One Woodward Avenue

One Woodward 1 Woodward Ave

6 Iconic Detroit Buildings/One Woodward Avenue
A Dose of Detroit
Written By A Dose of Detroit

Trui Moerkerke is a Belgian journalist who moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan with her family in the Summer of 2016. She decided to make the most of the waiting-for-the work-permit-time. She is fascinated with Detroit and studied to become a tour guide. There is so much to see, so much to tell. As a journalist and former editor, Trui knows a thing or two about storytelling. Trui is still writing for Belgian magazines and newspapers and she founded A Dose of Detroit. She's ready to take you on a guided tour in this amazing city (in Dutch, French and English).

The Japanese-American architect Minoru Yamasaki was based in Detroit, and he built his first highrise there in 1962: the building we now call One Woodward Avenue (with the Fifth Third Bank sign). In 1963 Yamasaki landed on the cover of Time magazine. The reason being that Yamaki was commissioned to design the World Trade Center in New York. You can consider One Woodward Avenue a predecessor of the Twin Towers.

Minoru Yamasaki opposed the predictable and banal glass towers that became fashionable in the sixties. One Woodward Avenue has, apart from technical innovations, a distinctive aesthetic. It is an elegant building with extremely narrow, but high windows, a blessing for people, like him, with a fear of heights.

Yamasaki traveled the world and was impressed by Japanese, Indian, and European architecture. You can see these influences in the decoration he added to his concrete highrises. He firmly believed modern architecture should be more humanistic, less austere. He wanted to surprise and delight people with his designs.

He also incorporated modern art in his designs. One Woodward Avenue has a fountain and a sculpture in front of the lobby.

If you want to see more work by Yamasaki, go to Midtown. The Wayne State University campus houses four buildings by this prominent architect.

More architecture? Join Trui for a guided tour
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6 Iconic Detroit Buildings

One Woodward Avenue

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