Michigan Modern Weekend



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By 1910, Michigan was well on its way to be the vanguard of Modernism in America.

From Michigan Modern: Design That Shaped America by Alan Hess


The confluence and synergy of industry, prosperity, and educational leadership in Michigan produced and attracted some of the most important Modern architects and designers of the twentieth century. Detroit automakers styled the cars that became part of the American Dream; West Michigan furniture companies designed and produced the Modern furniture that transformed American homes and offices; creative and influential Michigan architects drew talented designers to work in their offices; while the state’s architectural and design schools were among the first in the nation to teach Modern design theory. European architects watched and studied the development of the Albert Kahn’s factory system to house the auto industry. Prosperity brought commissions to internationally known architects. Cranbrook and the University of Michigan’s architecture program educated many architects and designers associated with the modern movement.




This Docomomo tour will study masterworks of internationally renowned architects including Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, Alexander Girard, Minoru Yamasaki, Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Paul Rudolph. It will provide a rare opportunity to visit the remarkable General Motors Technical Center that launched Eero Saarinen’s importance as an architect, and includes design work of others such as Florence Knoll, Alexander Girard, Kevin Roche, and Harley Earl. An afternoon on the Cranbrook campus will demonstrate the impact of this institution on Modern design.



Tour Leader

Brian D. Conway served as Michigan’s State Historic Preservation Officer for over twenty years, retiring in 2020. Conway initiated the Michigan Modern Project to document and promote Michigan’s significant role in the development of modern design. This work received a Docomomo US Advocacy Award and has been the topic of lectures nationwide. Conway is the author of the book Michigan Modern: An Architectural Legacy and co-editor of Michigan Modern: Design That Shaped America. He served on the board of the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and is currently a board member of the Michigan Docomomo chapter. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and a Master of Architecture Degree from the University of Florida. A Michigan native, Conway now splits his time between Northwest Michigan and Southern California.



Docomomo US Study Grants provide financial support for qualified individuals whose work or educational focus demonstrates a continued interest and commitment in the area or topic of exploration corresponding with the subject and destination of the study grant. Applications for the 2024 Michigan Modern Study Grant close April 1, 2024, at 11:59pm EST


Friday,  June 21: GM Technical Center Add-On Tour

Guests arriving early to Detroit have the opportunity to add this rare opportunity to visit the General Motors Technical Center. This three hour tour includes an opportunity to see the ground breaking work that brought Eero Saarinen international attention. Note that photography and phones are not allowed during the visit. Transportation to and from downtown hotels is included.


Saturday,  June 22

Guests will gather in the morning for a full day of residential sites. We will load up the buses bright and early and head over to the Mies van der Rohe designed Lafayette Park. Later in the morning we will head north for a visit to the Grosse Pointe Library designed by Marcel Breuer. After a boxed lunch we will tour the rarely seen Parcells House designed by Paul Rudolph, the W. Hawkins Ferry House designed by Detroit architect William Kessler, and we will conclude at Alexander Girard’s McLucas House. We will cap our exciting day with a reception before heading back to the hotels.


Sunday,  June 23

We will meet as a group bright and early and set off for our morning visits. Guests will be treated with a tour of the Yamasaki designed buildings at Wayne State University including the McGregor Memorial Conference Center & Sculpture Garden and the Helen L. DeRoy Auditorium. Our second stop of the day will be to the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Turkel House. In the afternoon, the group will have a private tour of Cranbrook Educational Community designed by Eliel Saarinen and includes works by Loja Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, and Pipsan Saarinen Swanson; and buildings by Steven Holl, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, Rafael Moneo, and Peter Rose. Later guests will close out the day with a special tour of the Frank lloyd Wright designed Affleck House before heading back to the hotels. A boxed lunch will be provided along with transportation from the hotels.


Michigan Modern Weekend AIA Continuing Education Credits

11 LU




The two-and-a-half-day tour in Michigan includes stops in Warren, Detroit, Grosse Pointe, Bloomfield Hills, and Lake St. Clair.



Program Rate

The Program Rate* includes: a comprehensive educational land program; entrance to all locations and sites, as detailed; transportation between the preferred hotel and daily sites; two lunches and one reception. The deadline to register is June, 2, 2024


Weekend Tour (Sat–Sun)
Members: $1095 per person ($1495 non-members)


SOLD OUT Add-On Tour: General Motors Tech Center**  (Friday)
Members: $300 per person ($400 non-members)


*Rate does not include: airfare, accommodations in Detroit; drinks and meals beyond those specifically included; transportation to and from Detroit.

**Friday’s tour to General Motors is an optional tour not included in the Weekend Tour rate. This tour is limited to the first 20 people; guests wishing to be added to the waitlist for the Friday GM tour should register for the Weekend Tour (Sat-Sun). Should there be cancellations, waitlist position is based on registration order for the Weekend Tour. 


Preferred Hotels

Docomomo US has reserved two room blocks for the weekend of June 21–24. Guests are welcome to book any hotel but please note that the buses will only pick up and drop off at these two hotels.


Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center

$259 for King rooms



Fort Pontchartrain Detroit, a Wyndham Hotel

$179 for King rooms

Book HERE.


Michigan Modern Weekend Docomomo tour offers a unique travel opportunity in a small group setting and features access to modern homes and buildings considered off the beaten path or not ordinarily open to the public. 

Note that all schedules and program details are given in good faith based on information available at the time. Circumstances might arise which prevent us from operating a tour exactly as advertised. The itinerary, accommodations, and arrangements are subject to change, with or without notice, at the discretion of Docomomo US.


For more information on this and other Docomomo US travel tours please contact us at info@docomomo-us.org.


Cancellation Policy

Docomomo US reserves the right to cancel this event at any time if we feel that it cannot be held safely, for any reason including but not limited to current COVID-19 health metrics and guidance. In this case, Docomomo US would refund participants the cost of their registration, but will not be responsible for any other costs incurred as a result of our decision to cancel the event.


Registrants may cancel through May 21, 2024 for a full refund. Cancellations after May 21, 2024, will not receive a refund. Email info@docomomo-us.org to cancel your registration.


Attendees may wish to consider purchasing travel insurance, which may reimburse certain costs in the event that the event is canceled or you are unable to participate. Docomomo US does not recommend any specific insurer or insurance product, and is not able to provide guidance.