Glory, glory, hallelujah: the gorgeous midcentury office campus in Warren, Michigan that once housed the General Motors Technical Center has been named a National Historic Landmark. Designed by famed modernist Eero Saarinen and opened in 1956, the G.M. Tech Center is a midcentury office delight, what with its low, steel-and-glass or color-glazed brick buildings encircling a rectangular artificial lake. What's more, the "industrial Versailles" just north of Detroit is still totally operational; around 19,000 lucky engineers, designers, and technicians work behind its heat-absorbing green tinted glass.
Making use of several early examples of green technology, like neoprene insulation strips under the façade that were made by G.M. engineers, the complex is one of Saarinen's most influential works. Fittingly, the campus also houses the automaker's vaunted Design Center, which has a continuously lighted ceiling — so no shadows — and a fabulous hanging stairway. The commendation from the The U.S. Interior Department and National Park Service notes that:
"The G.M. Tech Center marked Saarinen's emergence onto the national stage, and was the first of his four influential suburban corporate campuses that represented a sea change in American business facilities. The G.M. campus represents Saarinen's work not just as a creator of buildings, but also as the planner/designer of total environments." Sadly, the General Motors Technical Center was heavily damaged by flooding this August, and will require around $75M in repairs. In its honor, and to fête the news of its landmark status, find below an array of vintage color photos showing off the former splendor:
· G.M. Tech Center Becomes National Historic Landmark [New York Times]
· All Preservation Watch posts [Curbed National]
· Mapping the Biggest Preservation Wins and Losses of 2013 [Curbed National]
· All Eero Saarinen coverage [Curbed National]