By Jessica Strachan
C & G News Staff Writer
In addition to enjoying the best of the summer weather that’s arrived this year, a handful of local community leaders want residents to take the time to enjoy the scenery.
That is, the design, history and style of Southfield’s homes and businesses, and the art, landscaping and individuality of homeowners’ yards.
“In our day-to-day lives, we drive up and down these streets and don’t pay much attention to the design of some of the wonderful buildings that we have in Southfield — some that are more valuable because they were designed by prestigious architects,” Council President and Southfield historian Ken Siver said.
For the first time, a mid-century modern architectural tour will be held through the city, hosted by the Southfield Planning Department and the Southfield Historical Society. It’s set for June 29 and will demonstrate the best of the design that tour leaders say has made a tremendous resurgence.
“This tour is about getting people to take another look at the fine examples that we have, as well as think about investing here and moving their company into some of these buildings or buying a classic mid-century modern home,” Siver added. “I think we have a treasure trove of buildings. … The people who came to Southfield in late ’50s and ’60s were architects with amazing portfolios building around the city.”
Mid-century modern is known for being post-World War II design and a byproduct of post-war optimism as people clung to building a new future. Modern materials, clean lines, automobile-oriented spaces — such as buildings situated in the center of a site with parking surrounding and car ports connected to ranch-style homes — were the coveted spaces as folks moved from Detroit to the suburbs, according to City Planner Terry Croad.
The tour aims to promote exposure about how the design element has and will continue to characterize Southfield, he added. Local students from Lawrence Technological University helped to do an analysis on the mid-century modern makeup of Southfield, which allowed for the creation of the tour, he explained.