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LTU students win prestigious state planning award

Release Date: November 1, 2012

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – Students from the Master of Urban Design program at Lawrence Technological University have won the Outstanding Student Project Award from the Michigan Association of Planning (MAP/APA Michigan) for the “Mid-Century Modern Design Guidelines” they developed for the Southfield Planning Department.

The award was presented in October at the MAP annual conference in Traverse City. Winning the award were two LTU graduate students, David Lewis and Matthew Galbraith, and two recent graduates of the urban design program, Carolina Ferrero and Michael Mason.

Working as interns in the planning department, the graduate students documented three districts/neighborhoods and dozens of buildings built in the Mid-Century Modern style from the 1950s to the early 1970s that are important to the architectural heritage of Southfield, a first-ring suburb of Detroit that grew rapidly after World War II.

One of the most significant buildings in Southfield is the former Reynolds Metals Regional Sales Office designed by Minoru Yamasaki, a Troy-based architect best known for the World Trade Center in New York.

In order to complete the design guidelines, the LTU students extended the internship they took for a course, Principals and Practices of Urban Design, taught by the master’s degree program coordinator Constance Bodurow.

The design guidelines provide the Southfield Planning Department with an essential tool to keep significant structures and districts intact.  The guidelines not only define the style and identify significant structures, but also provide recommendations for enhancements through the use of case studies. 

The student authors gathered input from local historians, architects, and academics in order to comprehensively identify, document, and inventory the city’s significant resources.  The recommendations made by the students were considered and applied, resulting in the adoption of the Mid-Century Modern Design Guidelines for the City of Southfield.

“The Mid-Century Modern Design Guidelines is a valuable asset for the planning department in our understanding and review of the redevelopment of existing Mid-Century Modern buildings and sites,” said Terry Croad, Southfield’s director of planning who worked with the student interns.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, 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. Bloomberg BusinessWeek lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 20 percent of universities for return on undergraduate tuition investment, and highest in the Detroit metropolitan area.  Lawrence Tech is also listed in the top tier of Midwestern universities by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review. Students benefit from small class sizes and experienced faculty who provide a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student clubs and organizations and a growing roster of NAIA varsity sports.