Minoru Yamasaki (山崎實, Yamasaki Minoru, December 1, 1912 – February 7, 1986) was an American architect of Japanese descent, best known for his design of the twin towers of the World Trade Center buildings 1 and 2. Yamasaki was one of the most prominent architects of the 20th century and his firm, Yamasaki & Associates, continues to do business. He and fellow architect Edward Durell Stone are generally considered to be the two master practitioners of “romanticized modernism”.
Yamasaki, born in Seattle, Washington, was a second-generation Japanese American. He grew up in Auburn, Washington and attended Auburn Senior High School. He enrolled in the University of Washington program in architecture in 1929, and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.) in 1934. During his college years, he was strongly encouraged by faculty member Lionel Pries. He earned money to pay for his tuition by working at an Alaskan salmon cannery.
After moving to New York City in the 1930s, he enrolled at New York University for a master’s degree in architecture and got a job with the architecture firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon, designers of the Empire State Building. In 1945, Yamasaki moved to Detroit, where he was hired by Smith, Hinchman, and Grylls. Yamasaki left the firm in 1949, and started his own partnership. In 1964 Yamasaki received a D.F.A. from Bates College.
Yamasaki was first married in 1941 and had two other wives before marrying his first wife again in 1969. He died of stomach cancer in 1986.
St. Louis Airport, at St. Louis, Missouri, 1951 to 1956.
Pruitt-Igoe Public Housing, at St. Louis, Missouri, 1955, demolished 1972.
American Concrete Institute, at Detroit, Michigan, 1958.
Dhahran Air Terminal, at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 1959 to 1961.
Century Plaza Hotel, at Century City, Los Angeles, California, 1961 to 1966.
Temple Beth-El, at Bloomfield Township, Michigan, 1968 to 1974.
Performing Arts Center, at Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1973 to 1976.
Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency Headquarters, at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1973 to 1982