“Usonian” is an architectural term attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright, describing some of his affordable family home designs beginning in the 1930s. Usonian homes were typically small, single story dwellings without a garage or much storage. But they were as thoughtfully designed as Wright’s commissions for far wealthier clients. A group of young professionals in Kalamazoo County was among the first to embrace Wright’s innovative idea.
The history of 20th century design in Michigan isn’t just about automobiles. After World War II, Michigan was a hub for architects who broke away from the neo-classical shapes inspired by ancient Greece and Rome. The era of modern architecture lasted about 30 years and produced many structures still seen today.
Historic preservation stakeholders from across the state are convening in Jackson, Michigan this week for the annual Michigan Historic Preservation Network conference. The network works to recognize and conserve Michigan’s architectural culture.
Today on Current State: Update on fiscal conditions in Detroit and other U.S. cities; Lansing's historical Knapp's building renovation; MSU Theatre's production of "Widows"; Michigan native on her goal to make it to Mars; and Lansing Makers Network takes over city landmark.
The massive renovation of the former J.W. Knapp department store continues in downtown Lansing. The historic 190,000 square foot building is being converted into a mix of retail and residential space. Architects and developers are being careful to keep some of the original charm of the 75-year-old landmark, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Current State’s Kevin Lavery spoke with Robb McKay, a historical architect with the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office. They walked through the old Knapp’s building, which is slated to re-open for business in February.
Today on Current State: Architect-futurist anticipates global demoralization; Detroit's Water Renaissance series on the Rouge River; filmmaking staying relevant in Michigan despite changes; and MSU Museum photos capture modern workers in new exhibits.
Andrés Duany is an architect and community planner whose firm—Duany Plater-Zyberk, headquartered in Miami—has completed designs for almost 300 new towns, regional plans and community revitalization projects.