Wayne State University

Inaugural Minoru Yamasaki lecture will highlight legendary history and design of several Wayne State University buildings

DETROIT–When Minoru Yamasaki designed the diamond-patterned skylight of Wayne State University’s McGregor Memorial Conference Center, he took into account how sunlight would strike the pillars and what shadows would be seen by the people inside at different times of the day. This humanistic, experience-centered approach was a driving philosophy behind the legendary architect’s work – and is the focus of a new WSU speaker series dedicated to his legacy.

The WSU Yamasaki Legacy Lecture series’ inaugural talk will take place Friday, Nov. 12, 4 p.m. at the DeRoy Auditorium. Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the event will feature Dr. Dale Allen Gyure, associate professor of architecture at Lawrence Technological University and adjunct assistant professor of historic preservation at Goucher College, who will present the lecture "Serenity and Delight -Minoru Yamasaki’s Architecture at Wayne State University."

Minoru Yamasaki was an American architect best known for his design of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. One of the most prominent architects of the 20th century, he and fellow architect Edward Durell Stone are considered the two master practitioners of "romanticized modernism." The WSU speaker series was established to celebrate Yamasaki’s legacy on WSU’s campus, which includes the design of the McGregor Memorial Conference Center, the Education Building, Prentis Hall, and DeRoy Auditorium. All were constructed between 1957 and 1965 at a time when Yamasaki was becoming nationally known as an exciting and innovative designer.

Dr. Gyure’s research focuses on American architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries, particularly the intersections of architecture, education and society. He has written two books: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Florida Southern College and The Chicago Schoolhouse, 1856-2006: High School Architecture and Educational Reform. His lecture will focus on how Yamasaki’s designs for WSU’s campus express the legendary architect’s unique form of architectural humanism and his attempt to invoke feelings of serenity and delight in his buildings.

“People liked Yamasaki's work then, and still like it today, because it speaks to them,” Gyure said. “He designed his buildings with people in mind – their interests and desires – instead of theories or materials, and he felt that buildings should above all be beautiful things. Presently there is a lot of envelope-pushing architecture out there that seems to exist merely to exploit the possibilities of technology and materials, and I think Yamasaki's approach, which centered on the users and their experience of the building, is a lesson that is forgotten too often.”

The lecture is free but registration is required. To register, visit

# # #

Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information on research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.