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January 02, 2004 - Image 33

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

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Waltonwood of Royal Oak

Man With A Plan

In this respect, Siegal likes to emphasize the word
"planners" in his firm's title, and the fact that his corn-
pany offers comprehensive architectural and land-use
planning services.
"We do a lot of urban planning with communities,
school districts and developers in the area, so that the
new buildings don't have that isolated look," he
explained. "We emphasize to them that the architec-
ture must be integrated into the community to give it
a smooth and pleasant look."
Siegal Tuomaala's name resulted when a young
architect of Finnish descent, W. Allan Tuomaala, went
to work for Siegal in 1966. Siegal liked him well
enough to make him a principal; Tuomaala is now
executive vice president.
The firm's only other Jewish principal is Lonny
Zimmerman, of Huntington Woods, who is vice
president. Martin Smith is corporate secretary.
"Leonard maintains uncompromising integrity,
with a continual striving for architectural design
excellence. He has made our firm a very successful
business, where our clients and employees stay with
us for many years," said Zimmerman, who joined the
firm 24 years ago and regards Siegal as his mentor.
"I've always been impressed by the way Leonard earns
everyone's respect."

Multiple Projects

Whereas some larger architectural firms might have
received more publicity over the years — due to high-
profile projects — Siegal Tuomaala, with a 10-person
staff, has quietly gone about its business with less fan-
fare, designing the places so necessary to everyday life
for the residents of the metro Detroit area.
The firm designed Detroit's original Holocaust
Memorial Center, in West Bloomfield, but not the
new HMC, on Orchard Lake Road in Farmington
Hill, which was designed by Neumann Smith &
Associates of Southfield.
"The new building is a completely different but
very valid expression of architecture," Siegal asserted.
"It has a commercial character because it's out by
itself in an open area. The design of the [original]
Holocaust Memorial Center was based on its connec-

Camp Maas Sports Pavilion, Groveland Township

tion to the entrance to the Jewish Community
Siegal's firm designed Congregation Shaarey Zedek-
West Bloomfield's B'nai Israel Center and its nursery
school, as well as the Laker Education and Youth
Complex, also in West Bloomfield; four buildings at
Camp Maas in Groveland Township; the JVS offices
and community workshop in Southfield; and the
planned new administrative building at Clover Hill
Park Cemetery in Birmingham.
Other notable projects are office buildings, includ-
ing the Triatria Officentre on Northwestern Highway
in Farmington Hills and Cambridge Court in Auburn
Hills; the Society of Manufacturing Engineers
International Headquarters in Dearborn; the
Boardwalk and Sugar Tree shopping centers in West
Bloomfield; Applegate Square shopping center in
Southfield; numerous Farmer Jack, Kroger and Busch
supermarkets; municipal projects in Farmington Hills
and Canton Township; ice arenas in metro Detroit
and Ohio; Detroit public schools, including two
vocational/technical high schools; banks throughout
Michigan, including an award-winning design in
Charlevoix; medical buildings and hospital renova-
tions, including the VA hospital in Battle Creek;
hotels/motels in Southfield and Romulus; condomini-
ums, apartments and daycare centers throughout
southeastern Michigan; and fitness centers in
Michigan, Indiana and California. -
A large part of the firm's work is senior citizens
developments, including the Waltonwood projects,
with several new buildings currently in the planning
Whereas many strip shopping centers today are
enclosing their storefronts and adopting a common
canopy, Siegal cites the Boardwalk center on Orchard
Lake Road as an example of modern architecture's
new lifestyle centers. "We're proud of Boardwalk
because the stores have individuality," he points out.
"The row of stores looks like a modern street scene,
not just a giant enclosed market."

Respected Businessman

"Leonard just seems to get better with age," said
Stuart Frankel of Bloomfield Hills, president of Stuart

Frankel Development Co. in Troy, for whom Siegal
Tuomaala has designed shopping centers and office
"He's a great visionary, who really knows how to
design for the future, with excellent taste and aesthet-
ics and high-quality products that stand the test of
time. And he's always open-minded and very easy to
do business with."
The word "visionary" seems to arise in conversa-
tions with anyone who does business with Sie
"He's very talented and artistic, maintains high
integrity, does quality work and, especially, he's a great
visionary," said Harold Beznos, of Bloomfield Hills,
president of the Beztak Co. in Farmington Hills.
He has been Siegal's client and friend for more than
40 years, benefiting from Siegal Tuomaala's design of
office buildings, shopping centers and apartment
projects. "Leonard has qualities that are hard to find
in people today; he's ethical, honorable and a great
credit to his family, profession and the Jewish com-
munity," Beznos added.

Attracted To Architecture

As a youngster growing up in Detroit, Siegal always
liked to draw and expressed an early interest in archi-
tecture, so he went to Cass Technical High School
after attending Winterhalter Elementary School and
Durfee Intermediate.
'A family friend gave me a copy of Architectural
Forum magazine," he recalled, "and I fell in love with
a photo of a beautiful house in Maine. I said, 'Wow,
so this is what it's all about.' The picture opened up a
whole new dimension for me."
But his education was interrupted in 1942 by four
years in the Army, where he became an artillery
reconnaissance officer and won a Bronze Star during
action in Europe.
The closest he came to being injured occurred after
the war, while waiting to end his tour of duty. "We
found some old gliders the Nazis used at the begin-
ning of the war that were stashed away in the Alps,"
he said, "and some of us learned to fly them. My
career as a pilot ended with a crash landing."
In 1950, Siegal earned a degree in architecture at

SIEGAL on page 34

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