Category Archives: Architechture

ESD Sponsoring Tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Affleck House in Bloomfield Hills

SOUTHFIELD — Join your fellow members of The Engineering Society of Detroit Friday, March 31 for a special tour of the first Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house built in the Detroit metropolitan area.

The Gregor S. & Elizabeth B. Affleck House, built in 1941 in Bloomfield Hills, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places before it was 50 years old.  The house represents one of the finest examples of the architect’s Usonian style — the last great period of Wright’s career — when his goal was to fill a need for low-cost housing for the average American.  Inspired by Wright’s Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania, the Afflecks requested him to design their new home.  Wright responded by directing Gregor and Elizabeth to find a beautiful site which others may have considered “unbuildable” — and then he proceeded to design a unique house in harmony with nature and the home’s steep hillside site.

The Affleck family donated the house to Lawrence Technological University in 1978 for educational use in the university’s architecture and design programs.

One of our tour’s acting docents, LTU assistant professor Janice K. Means — past Chair of the ESD Affiliate Council and a member of the LTU Affleck House Restoration Committee — said:  “Lawrence Tech has an ongoing project to restore this amazing house with its treed site.  Now we wish to share this gem with the community.”

She added: “I know of no other Frank Lloyd Wright house where attendees are invited to sit in original Wright-designed chairs and take personal photos within the house.”

Attendees will experience a few of Wright’s innovations in this house — his use of the then-exotic material we know today as plywood for much of the home’s furniture; the use of combined floor mounted operable  windows and high clerestory windows to enhance natural cooling; indirect lighting from cove-mounted luminaires; a cleverly concealed half bath tucked into minimal space; a surprising amount of built-in storage space; and radiant heating from hot water running through cast iron pipes in the floor, a system that is still in use today.

Due to the historical status and intimate nature of the Affleck House, many rooms and passageways are very narrow and therefore the house is not wheelchair accessible.  Limited photography, for personal use only, is permitted.  In consideration of our other guests, handheld cameras only, no tripods or flash photography.

To register call (248) 353-0735 x 222. or visit

Albert Kahn’s legacy lives on in Detroit architecture – and Lawrence Tech symposium

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – The spaces we build to live and work in influence the basic nature of our lives and careers for as long as those buildings last.

Friday, about 70 academics, researchers, and the architecturally curious gathered at Lawrence Technological University to review the work and legacy of legendary Detroit architect Albert Kahn in a daylong research symposium.

Continue reading Albert Kahn’s legacy lives on in Detroit architecture – and Lawrence Tech symposium

LTU Kahn events featured on M2 TechCast

SOUTHFIELD — Lawrence Technological University will celebrate the architectural legacy of the legendary Albert Kahn in several events and exhibitions in the days and weeks ahead.

LTU staff highlighted the events on a podcast last week.

Continue reading LTU Kahn events featured on M2 TechCast

Tour three of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian houses June 4

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Fans of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture will have a rare opportunity to tour the only three Usonian houses he designed in the Detroit area on Saturday, June 4, four days before the renowned architect’s 149th birthday.

The Gregor and Elizabeth Affleck House and the Melvyn Maxwell Smith House are in Bloomfield Hills, and the Dorothy H. Turkel House is in the Palmer Woods section of Detroit.

The event, which costs $150 per person, includes a guided tour of each home, transportation in a luxury motor coach between the homes, and a hearty hors d’oeuvres reception at Lawrence Technological University’s campus in Southfield. Participants should arrive at the campus at 21000 W. 10 Mile Road in Southfield by 11:30 a.m. for registration. The tour begins at noon. Tour buses will return to Lawrence Tech by 5 p.m. for the reception.

Wright began designing Usonian houses during the Great Depression in the 1930s. His goal was to create houses with a unique North American identity that would be affordable for middle-class families. Usonian houses are typically small, single-story buildings constructed of native materials, featuring flat roofs, and natural heating and cooling. The Affleck House was built in 1941 and donated to Lawrence Tech in 1978 as a teaching resource for the University’s College of Architecture and Design. The Turkel House was built in 1955 based on Wright’s book, “The Natural House.” The Smith house, built in 1946, features natural cooling and radiant heating through hot water pipes installed in the floor slab. Wright visited the house several times, calling it “my little gem.”

A portion of the proceeds will benefit restoration projects at LTU’s Affleck House, as well as restoration of the Smith House, now owned by the Maxwell and Sara Stein Smith Foundation. $75 of the ticket may be tax deductible; consult your tax professional. To register, call LTU at (248) 204-2303 or go to

Lawrence Technological University,, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.



Melvindale Wins ESD’s Engineering SMArT Michigan At LTU

SOUTHFIELD – A team of students from Melvindale High School took first place – and $18,000 college scholarships – in The Engineering Society of Detroit’s Engineering SMArT Michigan competition, held Wednesday at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield.

Engineering SMArT Michigan – the name is an acronym for Science, Mathematics, Architecture and Technology — challenges students to design an energy-efficient single-family home. The designs presented Wednesday by students from Detroit, Southfield, Oak Park and Melvindale featured the latest in solar and wind generation technologies, and advanced heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems.

Melvindale’s “Goon Crew” won first place, which included an $18,000, four-year scholarship offer from Lawrence Tech for every team member, as well as Amazon gift cards.

Taking second place was the “Guardians of Energy” team from Oak Park High School. Third place went to “Team Intelligence” from the Southfield Regional Academic Center. Members of these teams received Target gift cards.

Eleven teams from Melvindale High School, Oak Park High School, SRAC, and Cody Detroit Institute of Technology competed in the event.

The teams’ designs were judged Wednesday morning by volunteer ESD engineers, architects and scientists. Three finalists were selected to make presentations to a panel of architectural and energy experts – Michael F. Cooper, president and managing principal at the Southfield office of architects Harley Ellis Devereaux; Malik R. Goodwin, president and managing member, Goodwin Management Group LLC; Sue Littles, lead architectural designer and computer aided design administrator, DTE Energy; David A. Lomas, principal engineer and associate at the engineering and environmental services firm NTH Consultants, Ltd.; and Robert P. Washer, managing general partner, BW Consulting Services LLC.

Engineering SMArT Michigan is funded by the United Way for Southeastern Michigan. The event’s sponsors are the auto supplier Denso, Lawrence Tech, the 3D printing technology provider Voxeljet, and the engineering firm WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff.


LTU Names New Dean Of Architecture, Design

SOUTHFIELD – Karl Daubmann has been named dean of the College of Architecture and Design at Lawrence Technological University. His appointment concludes a nationwide search and will be effective July 1, 2016, said Virinder K. Moudgil, LTU president.

Daubmann succeeds Glen LeRoy, who resigned last fall to accept the presidency of Boston Architectural College.

Continue reading LTU Names New Dean Of Architecture, Design

Ford Announces 10-Year Rebuild Of Dearborn HQ

DEARBORN — Ford Motor Co. announced a reconstruction plan of its Dearborn headquarters campus that will eventually consolidate 30,000 employees from the current 70 buildings into two major locations, a product campus and a world headquarters campus.

The automaker said most of its Dearborn properties have not seen significant rehabilitation in 60 years.

Continue reading Ford Announces 10-Year Rebuild Of Dearborn HQ

A Glowing Example Of High-Tech Art From Lawrence Tech

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – A formerly blank white wall in a much-traveled lobby of Southfield Town Center is now home to high-tech art created by two students from Lawrence Technological University.

The 20-foot-long, 7-foot-tall sculpture, called “Hedron,” is a series of triangular Plexiglas sections held in place by wood framing.

As a statement of sustainability, the lights are power-saving LEDs, and the wood framing was recycled from another sculpture. The LEDs change color to add dynamic motion to the art.

“The idea was to take the simple geometric form and make an organic composition through repetition and distortion,” said one of the sculpture’s designers, Daniel Stack, a junior graphic design major from Farmington Hills.

Added the other designer, Alek Cummings, a junior graphic design major from White Lake: “As for the inspiration, I’d say it’s inspired by the ‘80s … wild geometry and colors, but still pretty modern. It’s kind of just to inspire happiness.”

Cummings added that he hopes the sculpture helps those who work at Town Center “forget about stress” at their jobs.

Phil Lucas, LTU student engagement coordinator, said he was contacted by the Southfield City Centre Advisory Board to put LTU students to work on public art installations.

Lucas, in turn, contacted Steven Coy, associate professor in LTU’s College of Architecture and Design, who teaches a sculpture class each fall, and Coy’s students got busy.

The result is two public art installations with a third coming soon.

Besides the glowing art in Town Center, Coy’s students also created a set of hanging stainless steel orbs, pictured below, for the lobby of Arbor Lofts, a refurbished office building on Civic Center Drive that’s now home to apartments, many of which are rented by students from nearby LTU.


And soon, they’ll be working on a new art installation in an office and retail building on Evergreen Road, just north of 10 Mile Road.

“This is the first major public installation of its kind for LTU in this area, and hopefully the first of many more to come,” Lucas said. “It’s part of the college town atmosphere we’re trying to build and maintain in Southfield.”

Financial support from the project was provided by the Southfield City Centre as part of their efforts to create a vibrant mixed-use environment in the City Centre district. The Southfield Public Arts Commission also assisted in implementation and will ensure proper future maintenance of the art.

Kimberly Heslep, senior property manager for Town Center owner Transwestern, said the art is an example of the company being “a  firm believer in supporting the community.”

Lawrence Technological University,, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. The Brookings Institution ranks Lawrence Tech fifth nationwide for boosting graduates’ earning power, PayScale lists it in the nation’s top 10 percent of universities for graduates’ salaries, and U.S. News and World Report places it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus in Southfield include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.


LTU Students Design New House For Habitat for Humanity

SOUTHFIELD — Graduate architecture students in an advanced design studio at Lawrence Technological University are in the middle of a two-year project to create a new approach to housing design and construction for Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County that could become a future standard.

Work on this project will be on display at the “Hall House Full Scale” exhibition running Dec. 8-18 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., in the Architecture building gallery (A210). The opening reception will be on Tuesday, Dec. 8, from 6-8 p.m.

Continue reading LTU Students Design New House For Habitat for Humanity

LTU, UD-Mercy Named To Pilot Project For Faster Architecture Licensing

SOUTHFIELD — The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards has named Lawrence Technological University, the University of Detroit Mercy and 11 other highly rated architecture programs to participate in its Integrated Path Initiative for licensure, a pilot project designed to give students more flexibility in their pursuit of licensure as architects.

The universities say the initiative will result in a more structured experience for students that will provide the opportunity to complete the requirements for architecture licensure at the time of graduation.

LTU’s Department of Architecture in the College of Architecture and Design, the UDM School of Architecture, and the other participating architecture programs, have been asked to propose a pre-graduation integration of education and experience requirements so that students will be prepared to complete the requirements for the intern development program and take each of the six divisions of the new Architect Registration Examination 5.0 prior to graduation. In Michigan and many other states, enabling legislation will also be needed to change existing state law.

It has taken NCARB’s Licensure Task Force two years to develop an integrated path framework that promotes individual academic program flexibility while addressing all regulatory requirements for architectural licensure.

“The UDM School of Architecture is proud to be in this select group of schools,” said UDM School of Architecture Dean and Professor Will Wittig AIA. The School’s five-year accredited masters of architecture program has a longstanding tradition of integration with the profession, including one of the oldest co-op programs in the country. Building on that history, this new integrated path, will make it possible for a student to elect the six-year option leading towards the completion of all three elements for licensure and provide a valuable opportunity for those students who are highly motivated to attain licensure early in their career.”

At LTU, “the Integrated Path Initiative to architectural licensure aligns perfectly with Lawrence Technological University’s longstanding tradition of teaching theory and practice,” said LTU associate professor James Stevens, interim chair of LTU’s Department of Architecture. “It will allow the Department of Architecture to better coordinate and support our students’ academic and professional pursuits.”

Interim associate dean Scott Shall noted that the new Integrated Path will be “an opportunity and a challenge to build a more robust dialogue between our academic ambitions and professional pursuits.”

Associate professor Amy Deines, interim dean of LTU’s College of Architecture and Design, said the Integrated Path Initiative will help LTU focus more on the critical relationship between education and related experiences with professional licensure. She added that LTU’s emphasis on architecture students becoming involved in community projects should grow even stronger.

“The return on investment from this initiative will greatly benefit our region, particularly as it helps us address the complex issues that face American cities, as in the case of Detroit, which is so important to the College of Architecture and Design,” Deines said.

NCARB has formed a new Integrated Path Evaluation Committee (IPEC) to monitor the initiative. IPEC will “coach accepted programs, promote engagement with jurisdictional licensing boards regarding necessary law or rule changes to incorporate integrated path candidates, and oversee the acceptance of future program applicants.”

Besides LTU and UD-Mercy, the other architecture programs in the pilot program are Boston Architectural College, Clemson University in Clemson, S.C., Drexel University in Philadelphia, New School of Architecture and Design, North Carolina State University, Portland State University, Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Cincinnati, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, University of Southern California, and Woodbury University.