Saturday, December 1, 2012
American architect Minoru Yamasaki was born on December 1, 1912, in Seattle. His first significant design was the Pruitt–Igoe housing project in St. Louis, a set of stark, modernist concrete high-rises in which living conditions deteriorated soon after completion in 1956. Poverty, crime and segregation marked it as a public policy failure, and its 33 buildings were entirely razed in 1972. Yamasaki’s four-domed design of the Lambert-St. Louis Airport terminal (1956) inspired terminals at New York’s JFK Airport and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. In 1965 he began the innovative design of the 1,360 foot twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center, completed in 1972, costing $900 million. The world’s tallest buildings were dismissed as inhospitable glass-and-metal “filing cabinets.” Ironically, Yamasaki had a fear of heights. Pictured: Twin towers and East River, 1971.