Born: 1 December 1912
Died: 6 February 1986 (cancer)
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington
Best known as: Designer of Manhattan's World Trade Center
Minoru Yamasaki is the architect who designed Manhattan's World Trade Center. A native of Seattle, Washington and the son of Japanese immigrants, Yamasaki worked his way through college, studying architecture at the University of Washington and at New York University. After a stint with New York architectural firms in the 1940s, Yamasaki took a post in Detroit, Michigan in 1945 and founded his own firm in 1951. Working almost exclusively with public buildings, he earned a national reputation that landed him the job of designing of U.S. Consulate in Kobe, Japan (1954). A decade later, Yamasaki was tapped over many other architects to design New York's World Trade Center. Design began formally in 1965, with Yamasaki collaborating with Leslie E. Robertson and Emery Roth on what would become the tallest buildings in the world. Yamasaki's designs paid tribute to classical themes, especially gothic, but his emphasis on working with modern technology resulted in distinctly contemporary structures of concrete and glass. Some of his more famous projects include Seattle's U.S. Science Pavilion (now the Pacific Science Center), Los Angeles's Century City Plaza and the Lambert-St. Louis air terminal in Missouri.
The World Trade Centers were destroyed in a terrorist attack on 11 September 2001… Construction on the World Trade Center One was completed in 1972; it surpassed the Empire State Building as the tallest building in the world, a title it held until Chicago’s Sears Tower was completed in 1974… A fear of heights caused Yamasaki to design his high-rise buildings with narrow windows and limited vistas.
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