Facts You Didn’t Know About the Original World Trade Centers

Japanese architect Minoru Yamasaki was a modernist who designed for human interaction. His designs might have been minimal, pared down, and somewhat cold, but life could fill them up. He preferred people to interior design too. As he once said: “If you have white walls, human beings look better in a room than if you have red walls.” Yamasaki, who designed the original World Trade Centers in 1973, is the subject of a new book called Sandfuture, out on September 14. The book traces his unconventional path in architecture, from his early life, born to Japanese immigrants in 1912, to his path in architecture, moving to New York City during the Great Depression.

Yamasaki was part of the New Formalism movement, which saw its rise in the 1950s, aiming for a monumental presence in modernist towers, with delicate details and a rich use of materials like marble and granite. 

Architect Minoru Yamasaki (undated).

Photo: Courtesy of Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University

In 1955, he started his own firm, Yamasaki & Associates, which created 43 residential and commercial towers across the globe, from Brazil to Azerbaijan. Though his design accomplishments are awe-inspiring, he remains in the margins of design history.

The book’s author, Justin Beal, talks to AD about symbols of authoritarianism, bad reviews, and Yamasaki’s unique vision for the Twin Towers, which even today is still unknown.

Architectural Digest: How did you become enamored with the Twin Towers, and what do they represent to you?

Justin Beal: I studied architecture. It was summer of 2001, and I was obsessed with the Twin Towers. They were so beautiful to me as objects. It occurred to me I had no idea who designed them, even though I graduated from a rigorous architecture program.

AD: He isn’t a household name, like a Zaha Hadid or Frank Lloyd Wright. Your book aims to tell Yamasaki’s untold story. What did you want to shed light on?

JB: A lot of architects in New York didn’t know who he was. It made me reflect on how I was taught architectural history. It’s not just a consequence of racism, but that certainly had something do to with it. Architecture is a very white, privileged field. In many ways, Yamasaki was omitted from that story because he didn’t fit in.

Yamasaki standing over models of the World Trade Centers.

Photo: Library of Congress

Оставьте комментарий

Ваш адрес email не будет опубликован. Обязательные поля помечены *