Following Firm’s Closure, State of Michigan Saves Minoru Yamasaki’s Notes Just in Time

We told you back in January that the firm founded by World Trade Center designer Minoru Yamasaki had succumb to the pressures put upon it by the global financial collapse and would be closing their doors immediately. What we didn’t know was that the state of Michigan, and more specifically, its Historic Preservation Office, was acting fast to save all of Yamasaki’s records before everything in the now-shuttered office was set to be thrown out. Fortunately, thanks to a team effort across several different preservation group, they got there just in time and were able to pack up as much relevant, historically-important documents as they possibly could, thus maintaining Yamasaki’s legacy. Here’s a bit of the story of the scramble:

When the closing of the office precipitated the imminent destruction of records, a phone call between friends started an eleventh-hour effort to salvage and preserve Yamasaki’s papers. Pauline Saliga, executive director of the Society of Architectural Historians in Chicago, then contacted Michigan’s State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway, who in turn alerted State Archivist Mark Harvey of the Department of Natural Resources that the papers were to be destroyed the following morning. The Michigan History Foundation supplied a moving van and two movers, and Harvey made arrangements to be at the offices first thing the next morning. There he and two members of the preservation office and one archives staff member spent the day assessing and packing the available materials. Presentation drawings, original drawings and materials related to Century Plaza, as well as Yamasaki’s personal library from which he drew inspiration are among the items now in the state’s care.