Yamasaki explaining his designs. Taken from RG 2010-05: Yamasaki Inc. Collection.
This Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11, a day that forever changed the world in which we live. On that day, I was a student growing up in a small town. The events at the World Trade Center, even the World Trade Center itself, seemed far too large to grasp.
When I was later hired by the Archives of Michigan to process the Yamasaki Inc. Collection, I knew nothing about Minoru Yamasaki or his legacy. I quickly discovered more than I ever imagined about the man and his most famous work, the World Trade Center.
Minoru Yamasaki and the World Trade Center
Minoru Yamasaki was born in Seattle, Washington in December 1912. He died in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan on February 7, 1986. In 1962, he received the commission for which he would become known: the World Trade Center in New York City. Over the next ten years, designs would be revised or scrapped, and the Twin Towers would take their place in New York’s skyline.
While processing the Yamaski, Inc. collection, I discovered hundreds of 35mm slides and 4″ x 5″ color transparencies detailing conceptual drawings and models of the World Trade Center – both in its construction and as finished building. For the first time, I could mentally picture the outside plaza and the opulent grandeur of the World Trade Center lobbies. The collection had even more gems to discover: the architectural drawings of floor plans and the electrical and plumbing plans! All of the records, pictures, and drawings in the collection had finally made the World Trade Center tangible for me. For the first time, I grasped the enormity of the Twin Towers.
A conceptual view of the World Trade Center from the Hudson River. Taken from RG 2010-05: Yamasaki Inc. Collection.
While the processing of the Yamasaki Inc. collection is nowhere near finished, we do take research requests. I invite you to contact us and discover your own personal story. You can contact the Archives of Michigan by calling (517) 373-1408 or sending an e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Past Look! Articles on Minoru Yamasaki and the Yamasaki, Inc. Collection