Mishkon Tfiloh, Providence, RI


Located just outside the Summit Historic District, Mishkon Tfiloh is one of the later additions to the community, being completed in 1962, and located on the edge of an area primarily filled with early to mid-20th century residences. According to the historic district summary, the area had a concentration of Russian Jews and besides Mishkon Tfiloh, another temple, Congregation Beth Sholom and a historically Jewish hospital, Miriam Hospital, are also located in the neighborhood.


Mishkon Tfiloh has an engaging front facade with the second story sanctuary space set back behind a triple peaked entrance area. The ground floor entrance most likely leads to a social hall or school space.


Sources: http://www.livingplaces.com/RI/Providence_County/Providence_City/Summit_Historic_District.html



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Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted, Waltham, MA


This suburban church appears similar to countless red brick churches across the country. However look closer and there are a few details that stand out. The front entrance and side elevations all sport an undulated concrete awning which gives the building a little verve and also distinguishes it from similar overall designs from the 1980s and 90s that would not include such a detail. The wall of glass that runs from ground to roof on the front facade also calls note to a more mid-century design. The church itself was built in The 1962-63, and also includes several school and auxiliary buildings from the same era.


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Second Baptist Church Educational Building, Detroit, MI

IMG_6726This auxiliary church building was built in 1968 and designed by Nathan Johnson who also designed the Detroit People Mover stations, like the one directly across the street from this building. He designed homes and this incredible commercial building that still exists, if worse for wear.
IMG_6721Sources: http://s3.amazonaws.com/michiganmodern-prod/app/public/ckeditor_assets/attachments/7/mm_det-driv_final.pdf

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Skillman Center for Children, Detroit, MI


Here we have another mundane take on Yamasaki (and to a lesser extent Albert Kahn Associates) which shows the prevalent use of formalism throughout Detroit during the mid-century.

Part of Wayne State, the Skillman Center for Children building dates from 1965 and is part of the larger Merrill-Palmer Skillman Institute for Child and Family Development, created in 2005 as a merger with the previously independent Merrill-Palmer Institute.

The formal elements of the exterior include beige brick walls across the front with a double height concrete entrance canopy. The sections of brick are broken up by concrete frames rounded at the top. The side elevation is largely windows that look onto John R. Street.


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Church of Christ, Detroit, MI


Besides being built in 1972, not a lot of information is available on this complex in Elmwood Park. But through research I did discover an awesome recent photo essay on modernist churches of Detroit. Enjoy that here!


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Life Sciences Building, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI


A lesser known design by the firm that built Detroit, the Life Sciences Building was constructed in 1959 by Albert Kahn Associates. At this point Kahn had been dead for 17 years and yet the firm continued on designing numerous structures in the modern style.


Located on the southern end of campus, this one possibly takes its cues from the 1958 Yamasaki designed McGregor Memorial Conference Center from the year before, with its all-white exterior and regular facade in a formalist pattern.

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7451 Third Avenue, Detroit, MI


This quirky little commercial building is located on a curve of Third Avenue as it winds its way through New Center. The building was renovated in 2013 so it’s unclear what materials are original, but the overall design feels distinctly mid-century.


The basic design is a long, one-story rectangular box with aluminum framing across the facade with black and gold tiles below and clerestory windows above. A concrete planter runs along the entire base of the front. The tiling creates a surprisingly elegant detail for what is a largely mundane structure.


There is a central staircase at the rear of the building but this looks to be a new addition. Thanks to Michele U. for the last photo.


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