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Building Conservation Associates

General Motors Tech. Center

Location: Warren, Michigan
Year Built: 1949-1970
Original Architect: Eero Saarinen (1956) Thomas Church, Landscape Architect (1956) Argonaut (1956)

General Motors Corporate Campus often called the Tech Center was designed by Eero Saarinen in 1956. Located in Warren, Michigan, the campus over 50 buildings exemplary of the International Style.  The campus is designated a Historic Landmark of Michigan and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

BCA’s work on the multi-billion dollar restoration and rehabilitation of the nearly mile-square complex began with a Historic Preservation Master Plan that included extensive research in drawing and photographic archives, resulting in a historical evolution and alteration study of each building; a facade survey of all buildings; comprehensive exterior and interior photographic documentation; restoration design proposals; and a view-shed analysis for proposed modifications and new construction. The information was distilled into a one-day campus-wide walking/driving tour, which was used as an orientation tool for visits by the State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service, among others. The Master Plan became the basis for BCA’s National Register nomination for the entire campus, which successfully argued for a period of significance that spanned the years 1949 through 1970.

BCA subsequently oversaw the Historic Preservation Certification Application that enabled General Motors to secure a one billion dollar tax credit. Concurrently, BCA designed and oversaw the restoration and rehabilitation of the curtain wall systems on the original Saarinen-designed buildings.

Awards: 2006 Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation (Michigan Historical Center Foundation)