GM Tech Center Named Historic Landmark

Campus premier example of Eero Saarinen’s work.

by on Aug.11, 2015

The GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan, was named a National Historic Landmark.

The storied home of General Motors design and technical staffs in suburban Detroit has earned a new honor: historic landmark.

The National Park Service has designated GM’s 326-acre Tech Center in Warren, Michigan, as a National Historic Landmark complete with own special plaque and white granite marker to note the special designation.

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The Park Service selected the campus for the honor because it possesses “national significance as one of the most important works of famed architect Eero Saarinen,” who also designed the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the main terminal at Dulles International Airport outside Washington D.C as well as several other prominent buildings erected during the post-World War II era.

Mark Reuss, executive vice president of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain and Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design, attended the dedication of the marker, which required a crane and several people to guide it into place.

“When the GM Tech Center was dedicated in 1956, it was the pinnacle of engineering, design and advanced technology,” Reuss said. “We recently announced a $1 billion investment that will bring new construction, significant renovation and 2,600 new jobs to the campus.”

GM officials said the expansion of the Tech Center will continue using Saarinen’s original design style. The GM Tech Center is nationally significant as one of Saarinen’s most important works. It also represents several key aspects of this renowned architect’s career, according to Michigan Modern, which is dedicated to compiling listings of Michigan’s influence on mid-20th Century.

The Technical Center marks his emergence onto the international stage as an important designer independent of his work with his father, Eliel, which first brought him to wide national attention and acclaim.

(GM investing $1 billion at Tech Center. For more, Click Here.)

The project was embraced around the world as the embodiment of the spirit of the post-World War II age in America and of the prosperity and modernity of the nation and its people, according to Michigan Modern.

(Click Here for details about GM’s new active safety test center.)

The second of these is that this campus represents Saarinen’s work not just as a creator of buildings, but also as the planner/designer of total environments. At the Technical Center, Saarinen worked with and orchestrated key collaborators on the campus’s buildings and their material details, construction methods, landscape, furniture and furnishings, and artwork, creating a design totality unparalleled in the period that established a key working method for the architect, the website notes.

(To see more about GM’s $5.4 billion investment plans, Click Here.)

Finally, the Technical Center is also significant as the first of four influential Saarinen suburban corporate campuses (along with later projects for IBM, Bell Laboratories, and John Deere), that set the design standard for this important post-World War II landscape and architectural type that represented a sea change in American business facilities.

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