Registration Now Open for MICHIGAN MODERN: Design that Shaped America, A Symposium, June 13-16, 2013

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MICHIGAN MODERN: Design that Shaped America
Cranbrook Educational Community, Bloomfield Hills, June 13-16, 2013

Registration Is Now Closed
Please contact at (517) 373-1630 with any questions.

To learn more about the event, download the symposium registration brochure.

For a printer-friendly copy of the symposium brochure, click here.  To request a hard copy contact us by email or by telephone, 517.373.1630.

June 7, 2013, 12:00 p.m.

Conference registration is limited to 500 participants, so we encourage you to register early.

Registration: $375 (see registration brochure for details)

To register, please visit:

If you have questions, please email us at

We look forward to seeing you in June!

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Frank Lloyd Wright at Twilight

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Goetsch-Winckler, Okemos, Michigan

Goetsch-Winckler, Okemos, Michigan. Frank Lloyd Wright, 1940.

Frank Lloyd Wright at Twilight
Thursday, July 18, 2013

A rare chance to visit the Wright-designed Goetsch-Winckler House in Okemos, Michigan.
Fundraiser for the Michigan State University Museum, the science and culture museum at MSU

In conjunction with the special exhibit, “East Lansing Modern, 1940-1970,” at the MSU Museum through August 18, 2013.

The Goetsch-Winckler House is a compact, one-story Usonian house with signature Frank Lloyd Wright design elements: organic relationship to the site, horizontal planes, cantilever roofs, and the embodiment of Wright’s early design philosophy for moderately priced housing.

Designed for MSU art professors, the Goetsch-Winckler House is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the second of Wright’s Usonian house designs.

5:30 – 8 p.m.
Refreshments – tours – meet the homeowners

6:45 p.m.
“A Modest, Modern Masterpiece,” with Dr. Susan J. Bandes, Exhibition Curator and MSU Professor of Art History & Visual Culture

$50 per person
Space is limited
Register online here:

Or send check to:
MSU Museum
c/o Goetsch-Winckler House Tour
409 W. Circle Drive
East Lansing, Mich. 48824
(Please include names of attendees)

Questions: (517) 355-2370

East Lansing Modern exhibition page:

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a2modern presents “Threads” an evening with Steve Frykholm and Clark Malcolm of Herman Miller, Inc.

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Threads Presentation Promotional Image

a2modern is pleased to partner with Susan Monroe owner of Three Chairs, Co., and Steve Frykholm and Clark Malcolm of Herman Miller, Inc., in a presentation of “Threads.”

Threads is the story of Herman Miller’s history of design, openness to new ideas and people, and respect for individuals. Steve Frykholm, graphic designer, and Clark Malcolm, writer, with a combined 72 years at the company, tell the stories of the people, products, and events behind 107-year-old Herman Miller, Inc. Woven together, the many threads of this history tell the story of how Herman Miller has become what it is today and the origins of the values and culture that will sustain it in years to come. Threads is an interactive presentation; the audience chooses the topics to be discussed. Threads includes images, video clips, and audio segments from Herman Miller’s long history of design and innovation.

Thursday, June 6th, 2013
6:30 p.m. Reception
7:15 p.m. Threads Interactive Presentation

Location: Three Chairs Co., 215 S Ashley St Ann Arbor, MI 48104

This event is free however donations to a2modern are appreciated to help defray expenses and for future programs! Note: Three Chairs Co. is an authorized Herman Miller retailer. It just so happens that this event will occur during the Herman Miller annual sale so all Herman Miller will be 15% off!

RSVP, as limited seats are available

Special thanks to: Morgan & York Fine Wines and Specialty Goods for their generous contribution to the event.

Three Chairs Logo

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East Lansing Modern, 1940 – 1970

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East Lansing Modern Postcard Front

East Lansing Modern, 1940 – 1970
MSU Museum Ground Floor, April 28 – August 18, 2013

Opening Reception: Sunday, April 28, 2-4 PM. Gallery Talk at 3PM

download a postcard for the exhibit

East Lansing itself is on exhibit at the Michigan State University Museum as “East Lansing Modern, 1940-1970” explores the city’s place in Michigan’s modern design heritage. Especially following World War II, East Lansing’s population grew dramatically, and with that boom came a need for additional housing for GI-Bill students and their families, as well as MSU faculty. Many bought traditional residences within walking distance of the campus, yet several embraced modernist principles and worked primarily with local architects to design their homes.

“Modernist architecture, characterized by low, flat roofs, large areas of glazing and new technologies, reflected a changing, more informal lifestyle,” notes MSU Museum Exhibition Curator Susan J. Bandes, also MSU professor of art history and visual culture. “For modernist homes, often the street view is modest and belies the openness, use of space, light and unexpected design elements of the interior.”

Commercial, religious and professional buildings along Abbot Road are among East Lansing’s most modern, while modernist homes are sandwiched between older ones and in the northern sections of the city annexed in the 1950s. In addition to a number of private residences, the exhibit features many recognizable modernist landmarks: Glencairn Elementary School, East Lansing Public Library, Edgewood United Church, Eastminster Church, Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, Michigan Education Association headquarters, and the Michigan State Medical Society, designed by renowned World Trade Center (1971) architect Minoru Yamasaki.

Locals will likely recognize a couple of other modernist mainstays, even if they aren’t familiar with their origins: Bell’s Pizza (formerly Dawn’s Donuts) and Biggby’s first café (originally Arby’s), both on Grand River Ave., are prime examples of “Googie” architecture. The Googie trend, originating in California, featured steeply pitched, sharp angled roofs and a futuristic feel — making for exuberant, unrestrained designs that called attention to themselves.

Inspiration for the exhibit began with the State Historic Preservation Office’s “Michigan Modern” project to inventory modernist architecture across the state. From there students in Bandes’ Fall 2012 “Michigan Modern” course researched East Lansing’s architectural examples, and then Bandes and a team of research assistants completed the exhibit in the spring. (For more, see

A driving/biking tour is in development and in 2014, MSU Press will also publish a book by Bandes’ with a more comprehensive look at East Lansing’s architecture.

Visitors to “East Lansing Modern, 1940-1970” will also get a look of sorts inside the modernist homes. Furnishings, small appliances, tableware and other decorative arts – some produced by MSU art faculty – will be featured in the exhibit, drawn mainly from MSU Museum and Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum collections. Many of the designs reflect the modernist sensibilities valuing informality, simplicity, bright, optimistic color palettes and a moderate price to make them available to middle-class consumers.

Upcoming programs:
Tuesday, May 14, 5 p.m.
Film screening: “East Lansing: The City We Know,”
30-minute documentary on the history of the city; followed by exhibition tour

Saturday, June 9, 2 – 3:30 p.m.
Workshop: “How to Research Your Home,” led by Whitney Miller, University Archivist at MSU and author of “East Lansing, Collegeville Revisited.”

Also in the works (more details to come soon):
Thursday, July 18, 5:30 – 8 p.m.
“Twilight with Frank Lloyd Wright: Goetsch-Winckler House,” a chance to visit the famed Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Goetsch-Winckler House in Okemos; fundraiser for the Michigan State University Museum, the science and culture museum at MSU; space is limited.

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a2modern lecture: Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography

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Balthazar Korab, Eliel Saarinen, Cranbrook Academy of Arts (Bloomfield Hills, MI, 1938–42), ca. 1978. Mermaids & Tritons bronze sculptures (1930) by Carl Milles in the foreground.

Balthazar Korab, Eliel Saarinen, Cranbrook Academy of Arts (Bloomfield Hills, MI, 1938–42), ca. 1978. Mermaids & Tritons bronze sculptures (1930) by Carl Milles in the foreground.

Mark your calendars for a2modern’s Spring lecture April 3rd by John Comazzi, author of Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography.

Please join us for a presentation that will highlight the life and career of Balthazar Korab, one of the most celebrated photographers of architecture practicing throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Korab’s life and career have been detailed in the recent publication, Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). In the book, author John Comazzi examines a broad range of Korab’s extensive archive and the extent to which his representations of architecture should be understood in the context of his life experiences, sensibilities, and artistic practices. As such, this talk will reassess the images that have come to define Korab’s professional career—the photography of midcentury Modern architecture— within the broader context of his extraordinary life experiences and training as an architect. Furthermore, Comazzi will present many of Korab’s lesser-known (though no less significant) portfolios of vernacular and industrial architecture that influenced his overall sensibility and approach to his commissions as a professional photographer of architecture.

John Comazzi
John Comazzi is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Minnesota where he teaches design studios and research seminars at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. He holds a Master of Architecture and a Master of Science in Architecture History & Theory from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia. From 1999-2000 he was a Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Michigan before joining the architecture faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2006. Through teaching, practice and research his scholarship explores the role of architecture photography in design disciplines and design pedagogy as a model of integrated learning in PK-12 education. In addition to his teaching, he has practiced as a designer in Virginia, Michigan and Minnesota.

He is author Balthazar Korab: Architect of Photography (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012), an illustrated biography on the life and career of Balthazar Korab, one of the most celebrated photographers of architecture practicing during the second half of the twentieth century. The book is the first dedicated solely to Korab’s life and career, and traces his rather circuitous path from post-war Hungary to his professional pursuits as a designer in the office of Eero Saarinen (1955-58) and his career as a professional photographer of architecture (1958-2010).

The lecture will be at 7:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 3rd, Stern Auditorium, University of Michigan Museum of Art.

Thanks to the following sponsors: A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Knoll, AIA Huron Valley, and American Seating.

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Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America UPDATE

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Michigan Modern Save The Date

Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America UPDATE
An Exhibition and Symposium at the Cranbrook Educational Community June 2013

Michigan’s industry and design intertwined creating an epicenter of modern design. Michigan visionaries touched nearly every aspect of American life. Detroit’s automobile manufacturers didn’t just produce automobiles; they styled them to become synonymous with the American dream. The state’s furniture makers didn’t just manufacture furniture; they revolutionized the look of the American office and home. Michigan architects Albert Kahn, Eero Saarinen, and Minoru Yamasaki didn’t just design buildings; they defined an era. Michigan’s industry, prosperity, and educational institutions created a synergy that attracted the design talent that formed the foundation for modern American design. This exhibition celebrates Michigan’s outstanding contributions to Modern design and the stories of the people who made it happen.

Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America is organized by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office in association with Cranbrook Art Museum and curated by MPdL Studio of Ann Arbor, Michigan. The exhibition will open at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan on Friday, June 14, 2013 and run through October 13, 2013. A symposium celebrating Michigan Modern will be held at Cranbrook Thursday, June 13 – Sunday June, 16, 2013.

Symposium registration will begin in March 2013.

A PDF of the Michigan Modern Symposium & Exhibition Save the Date Card can be downloaded here.

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Home Research Workshop with a2modern

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Photograph from Bentley Historical Library.

a2modern workshop: How to explore the history of your home

Have you ever wondered what stories your house might be able to tell? No matter the age of your home, this workshop will help you uncover its fascinating history. A history that includes the original homeowners and their stories, land development, architectural plans to kits and builders. Come find out about the free online resources available for researchers while learning techniques and time-saving tricks to help simplify your research process. The workshop will present the resources available at the Bentley Library for research as well as an example of one researcher’s exploration of a midcentury architect and the wealth of projects now overlooked.

Great for amateurs and history buffs alike!

Speakers for this workshop:

  • Karen Jania, Archivist and Head of Reference Services, Bentley Historical Library
  • Connie Locker, Historic Preservation and Interpretation Specialist
  • Anthony Timek, Research Specialist

The workshop will be held February 21, 2013 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Whiting room at the Bentley Historical Library. The Library is located at 1150 Beal Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan (map).

Please contact for any questions regarding the event.

The workshop is free but, a donation to a2modern is appreciated.

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Balthazar Korab

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Korab and Madonna

We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Balthazar Korab on January 15, 2013. 

Balthazar Korab was born in 1926 in Hungary and studied architecture at the Polytechnicum in Budapest. In 1949, he fled Hungary’s communist government, emigrating to Paris where he completed his architectural studies in 1954 at L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, and where he studied art history at L’Ecole du Louvre. These studies were cap-stoned by a summer of study in Venice at Les Congres Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne.

In 1955, after stints as a journeyman under Le Corbusier and other European architects, Mr. Korab moved to the U.S. Eero Saarinen hired him as a designer in his Bloomfield Hill’s office near Cranbrook. Under Saarinen, he experimented not only in architectural design – receiving 4th prize in the Sydney Opera House Competition – but began his lifelong work with photography as a design tool. His contributions already were recognized by 1964 when he was awarded the American Institute of Architects Medal for Architectural Photography. By then, he had decided to stay in the U.S. and became a naturalized citizen in that same year. He had been fully embraced by the architectural community in Detroit, with many firms retaining him to document their projects. About his work, he stated, “I have always considered myself an architect who takes pictures, rather than a photographer who is knowledgeable about architecture.”

In addition to Saarinen, Mr. Korab has worked with some of the world’s most important architects including Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright – who invited him to join Taliesin in 1958, Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, Harry Weese, Frank Gehry, Marcel Breuer, Minoru Yamasaki, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson, Cesar Pelli, and I.M. Pei. His photographic work has been in dozens of exhibits and is found in public and private collections including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the U.S. Library of Congress, and Montreal’s L’Centre Canadien d’Architecture. He also has been featured in a number of publications, most recently the Michigan Architectural Foundation’s text, Great Architecture of Michigan.

Mr. Korab has been committed to his State serving on the Governor’s Committee on Art in Public Places, as Design Editor of Metropolitan Detroit, and on the Design Advisory Committee for Cranbrook. And he has been recognized for this commitment with Honorary Memberships in the Michigan Society of Architects, the AIA Detroit Chapter, and the Michigan Society of Landscape Architects. In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton presented a hand-selected portfolio of Mr. Korab’s photography to Arpad Goncz, the President of Hungary, on his state visit to Budapest. Most recently in 2007, he received both the AIA Lifetime Achievement Award for Photography, and, the Hungarian Institute of Architects’ Honorary Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Of his work, Mr. Korab stated, “I am an architect with a passion for nature’s lessons and man’s interventions. My images are born out of a deep emotional investment in their subject.”

We are extraordinarily proud that Mr. Korab and his family chose to make their home in Michigan. He and his immeasurable talents will be dearly missed.

The text of this post has been largely excerpted, with permission, from the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, and was first released at the presentation of the MPHN’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Balthazar Korab on May 15, 2009.  The original text was authored by Janet Kreger.

Additional information and rememberances are below.

Chan, Kelly. “Balthazar Korab, Imagist of Modernism, Dies.”, Jan. 16, 2013.

Dunlap, David W. “Balthazar Korab, Architectural Photographer, Dies at 86,” The New York Times, Jan. 26, 2013.

Death Of A Detroit Artist: Architecture Photographer Balthazar Korab, 86.”, Jan. 15, 2013.

Gallagher, John. “Famed Troy-based architectural photographer Balthazar Korab dies.” Detroit Free Press, Jan. 15, 2013.

McCawley, Harry. “Korab, who captured elegance of city’s architecture, dies at 86.” The Republic, Jan. 17, 2013.

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S. Glen Paulsen

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We were saddened to learn of the passing of noted Michigan architect, S. Glen Paulsen. Mr. Paulsen passed away on November 25, 2012. His obituary follows:

Michigan architect S. Glen Paulsen died at the age of 95 on November 25, 2012, at his home in Chelsea, Michigan. He was preceded in death in 2011 by his wife and indispensable partner of 67 years Virginia H. Paulsen—Jennie, and his granddaughter Joy Lynn Marshall. Glen’s sister Helen MacInnis and her husband Don also are deceased. Still living are children Thomas Paulsen and his wife Rita of Derby, Connecticut, and Nancy Marshall, husband John (deceased), now of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Glen and Jennie’s remaining grandchildren are Jordan Marshall and his wife Victoria, Anthony Marshall and his wife Kristy, and Tristan Paulsen; great grandchildren are Cassandra Paulsen, Aaron and Malek Rickett (Marshall), and Bella Joy Marshall.

Glen discovered architecture when he was a junior in high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Architecture became his life-long passion. He attended three schools to acquire his professional education. WWII interrupted his education at The University of Illinois, and he completed his degree after the war at The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His last formal education was acquired at the Royal Academy of Arts, Stockholm, through an American Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship.

The next most influential experience of Glen’s career came from his association with Eliel and Eero Saarinen. This was the beginning of Glen’s career in Michigan and also of his association with and love for Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills. The artists and architects he met throughout his career became life-time friends and, together, their generation shaped post-war modern architecture.

Glen taught architecture for many years at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and also enjoyed a long association with Cranbrook Academy of Art. From 1966-1970, Glen served as president of the Art Academy while continuing as head of the architecture studio and operating Glen Paulsen and Associates. GPA merged with Tarapata, MacMahon Associates of Bloomfield Hills in 1969, becoming TMP Architecture. Inc. In addition, Glen was pleased to be a member of the Michigan Society of Architects and an AIA Fellow.

Gifted with the ability to form lasting relationships with his students and colleagues, Glen was a natural mentor. It was gratifying to him that many of the men and women he taught and mentored kept in touch with him throughout their careers. Their letters, calls, and visits gave him a great deal of pleasure.

Glen’s memorial service will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 128 Park St., Chelsea, Michigan 48118, on Saturday, December 8, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. A reception will follow the service.

Glen was focused on leaving a legacy to help the educational institutions he loved. If you would like to share in his legacy, contributions in his memory may be made to either of the following: Taubman College of Architecture Alumni Scholarship Endowment, UM, 2000 Bonisteel Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, or The S. Glen Paulsen Memorial Fund, c/o Cranbrook Academy of Art, PO Box 801, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303-0801.

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Midgaard (Lautner Cottage)

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Midgaard (Lautner Cabin), Marquette, Michigan

Midgaard (Lautner Cabin), Marquette, Michigan

Few people realize this, but noted California architect John Lautner was born and educated in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (before enrolling at Taliesin).  Perhaps best known as the architect of Chemosphere, Lautner’s architectural career began much, much earlier. 

As a young boy he helped his parents, John & Vida Cathleen Lautner construct a cabin in Marquette, Michigan.  Known as Midgaard, the cabin and the experience of constructing it were both a significant influence for the junior Lautner.  He has referred to it as “the start of my architecture.”

Midgaard was presented to the Michigan State Historic Preservation Review Board on Friday, September 14 for their approval to forward the nomination to the National Park Service for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.

The approved nomination will be available in a few months, but the Midgaard Presentation photographs presented to the Review Board can be downloaded as a PDF.


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