Art: The Road to Xanadu

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came the chilling news that all Japanese-Americans on the West Coast were to be resettled. Yamasaki sent for his parents, and they moved into his three-room Yorkville apartment. He did not mind the overcrowding, but he has not forgotten the resettling. "Our people had to sell everything for 10¢ to 15¢ on the dollar. The people who bought their businesses and houses knew they had them over a barrel." Up From Eyeshades. As the years passed, Yamasaki worked for Architect Wallace Harrison and later for Designer Raymond Loewy. In 1945, the large (600 employees) Detroit firm of Smith, Hinchman & Grylls hired him to be its chief designer. He was at first appalled by the fusty look of the dark-walled offices : "The men wore eyeshades, and there were spittoons on the floor." But he was delighted with the freedom he was given. Now Detroit got its first touch of Yamasaki's art. For the neoclassic Federal Reserve Bank, he built a modern addition, a Le Corbusier-style building set back 30 ft., forming a small plaza planted with trees. The springboard job of Yamasaki's career came to him in 1951. He and two S. H. & G. colleagues had formed a firm of their own, and they got a commission to do the Lambert-St. Louis Municipal Air Terminal — a work that was to set the standard for a wave of airport buildings by top architects all over the U.S. Yamasaki decided that the terminal should be a great entrance, a reception center for

the city that had sent Lindbergh across the Atlantic. An inspection tour of other airports left him unimpressed. Then he took a new long look at Manhattan's vaulted Grand Central Terminal. "Here," he decided, "is an entrance worthy of a city." First Honor. Yamasaki's plan called for three pairs of intersecting barrel vaults (to which others can be added). The concrete forms were sheathed in cop per, which made the building striking not only from the ground but also from the air. It won Yamasaki the American Institute of Architects' First Honor Award, and not even his severest critics can find much fault in that building. But during construction, the frustrations — the arguments and compromises with engineers and client, the insufferable commuting between St. Louis and Detroit — proved overwhelming. In December of 1953, Yamasaki suddenly began bleeding internally; surgeons had to remove two-thirds of his ulcerated stomach. Death hovered so near that Yamasaki remembers overhearing his mother tell his three children that he would not pull through. Two months after the operation, Yamasaki got out of the hospital determined to put his life in better order. He closed the firm's St. Louis office and, with Partner Joseph Leinweber, established himself permanently near Detroit. The Look of Serenity. He was no sooner back at work than he got an assignment that was to crystallize his philosophy of architecture. The assignment came from the State Department, which

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