The McGregor Memorial Conference Center, designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki of Yamasaki, Leinweber & Associates, Detroit, Michigan, was constructed in 1957-58. Funding for the building was provided by the McGregor Foundation, and dedicated to the memory of the foundation founders – philanthropists Tracy McGregor and his wife and widow Katherine Whitney McGregor. The conference center was a gift to Wayne State University, and was to be used as a community conference center. The building was the first component of Yamasaki’s substantial body of work for Detroit’s Wayne State University in the 1956-64 period that also included a master plan for the campus and three other campus buildings and it was the first of his many important commissions in Detroit. The landscaping surrounding the building was designed by Edward Eichstedt, and sculptures by several artists populate the reflecting pools.
The McGregor Memorial Conference Center is a two-story steel-frame and concrete folded slab Modernist building designed in the International style. The building stands on a platform raised several steps above street level. The square-shaped structure is divided into east and west halves separated by a glass atrium. In each half of the building are conference rooms that can be divided into various shapes. The center of the building’s first floor contains a lobby space with a two-story ceiling and view to the atrium skylight. The building’s exposed triangular section frames form ceilings beneath the support floors and roof. The triangular design influenced other design elements including the diamond-patterned atrium skylight and the aluminum sculptural door screens. The building is sheathed in Roman travertine marble and tinted grey glass, while the thin square-plan columns of shallow east and west porticos are finished in white marble.
Binno Savage, Rebecca. “McGregor Memorial Conference Center National Register of Historic Places Registration Form.” State Historic Preservation Office, Lansing, Michigan, 2010.
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