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January 02, 2004 - Image 32

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-01-02

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Special Repor

Sta ff photo by Angie Baan

Special to the Jewish News

A Lice In

Leonard Siegal devotes his professional life
to improving the built environment.

or 50 years, Leonard Siegal's
presence has been felt
strongly in the Detroit
Jewish community — in the
home, the school, the
synagogue, the supermarket,
the drugstore, the bank, the
doctor's office, the fitness
center and the hockey rink.
Siegal has designed them all,
starting in 1954 when he started out
on his own, then as his architectural
practice grew through the years with
the addition of three other principals
and a small, core group of employees
at the firm of Siegal Tuomaala
Associates, Architects and Planners
Inc., in Farmington Hills. Siegal is
He figures he has worked on about
2,000 projects during five decades,
and, although he'll turn 80 on Jan. 8,
he's still going strong, with no plans
to retire soon.
In the world of architecture, it's rare
for an individual to run a firm for
that long. He attributes his longevity
in the practice of architecture to ener-
gy, vitality, good health and good for-
tune in general.
Siegal's architecture may not be
flashy or controversial, but it is inte-
gral to daily life in southeastern
Michigan. In addition to architecture,
also of prime importance to him are
his family, his synagogue, his exercise
regimen and his study of life in gener-
al, with a deep, philosophical bent.
"One of the biggest challenges fac-
ing architects today is to avoid design-
ing buildings in complete isolation of
their surroundings," he said. "Too
many architects do that; their urban
planning is not cohesive. Buildings
must be designed to fit in together,
rather than stand alone without
regard to their surroundings.
The most startling example of this
is the Las Vegas or Disney World
approach. The buildings and hotels
are dynamic and exciting, but they're
not part of a plan. Closer to home,
just look at Orchard Lake Road. The
individual offices, stores and restau-
rants just do their own thing. They
seem to 'shout out' at you with no
architectural plan."



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ngregation Shaarey Zedek-West Bloomfield,
B'nai Israel Center

Amerisure Office Building, Farmington Hills

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