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New map highlights the legacy of modernist architecture in metro Detroit

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The map features legendary architects like Yamasaki, Saarinen, and van der Rohe

Photos by Jason Woods

Detroit’s importance to modernist architecture is undeniable. In the metro region, the biggest names in the movement designed some of their most important works here—architects like R. Buckminster Fuller, William Kessler, and Marcel Breuer.

A British map publisher, Blue Crow Media, has combined these great works into the Modernist Detroit Map. It features such iconic places as the McGregor Memorial Conference Center by Yamasaki, Leinweber & Associates; the Lafayette Park Townhouses and Courtyard Houses by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Ludwig Hilberseimer; and the General Motors Technical Center in Warren by Eero Saarinen.

Each of the more than 50 buildings are bolded red on the map. On the back, they’re ordered chronologically—the earliest is Albert Kahn’s Crystal Palace from 1910—along with the building’s construction date and design firm.

Courtesy Blue Crow Media

“After World War II, European-style Modernism flowered in Detroit,” writes the London-based mapmaker in a press release, “led by two Finnish-American immigrants, father and son Eliel and Eero Saarinen, whose home base, Cranbrook Academy of Art, became a magnet for ambitious young designers from around the world.”

The map was compiled and edited by Michael Abrahamson, an architectural historian and critic, and the creator of the ​Fuck Yeah Brutalism​ blog.

It can be purchased for £8 on Blue Crow Media’s website or $10 on Amazon.

Temple Beth El, designed by Minoru Yamasaki and Associates
Lafayette Park Townhouses and Courtyard Housesm, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Ludwig Hilberseimer