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West Bloomfield Plaza • 6638 Telegraph Road and Maple • 248-851-0313
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4189 ORCHARD LAKE
AT PONTIAC TRAIL
IN WEST BLOOMFIELD
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Open Daily:11 :00am - 10:00pm
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29788 Sowflifield Rd., SovitIlfield 1
SotAtlifield Pit:itza, Next to Feartner jack,'
the University of Michigan in Ann
Arbor, where he was in the Phi Kappa
Phi Honor Society. He passed the state
board exams; then returned the old
copy of the Architectural Forum maga-
zine to the family friend who'd given it
to him with a note, thanking him for
getting the newly minted architect
interested in what was to become his
On Siegal's 75th birthday, his family
endowed a yearly scholarship in his
name at U-M for future architects.
Siegal's first three offices were located
in Detroit — downtown, on Wyoming
and finally on Greenfield Road — -
before the firm headed into the north-
In fact, Siegal completed his college
graduation thesis on downtown's
Central Business District.
"I admire the architecture of Detroit's
new office buildings like the
Renaissance Center — now that they've
gotten rid of those ugly berms in front
— and the new stadiums and theaters,
but I worry about the city in general,"
he reflected. "Detroit needs better
schools and a safer environment. There's
too much central district decay."
Siegal doesn't let work interfere with
spending time with his family.
Bluma, his wife of 39 years, is a mar-
keting consultant for local shopping
centers. The couple live in Farmington
Hills, in a home Siegal designed.
His four sons include Allen, a lawyer
in New York; Barry, who lives in Israel
and assists charities helping victims of
the Palestinian-led intifada (uprising);
Eric, a physician in Wisconsin; and
David, a computer programmer in the
:Boston area. He has four grandchildren.
Siegal has been a member of Adat
Shalom Synagogue for more than 30
years. He has -served on several commit-
tees and is a former synagogue vice.
"Leonard is nne- of -the .finest human
beings you could ever meet," said Alan
Yost, executive director of the syna-
gogue. "He's bright, logical and Very
generous of his time and resources.
While serving on our finance commit-
tee, he demonstrated that he was a fiscal
conservative, who helped us maintain a
balanced budget to keep the synagogue
operating on a very orderly basis. "
Siegal likes to boast that he was a jog-
ger before jogging became fashionable,
running in old tennis shoes in the early
years, and finally quitting at age 76.
Now, he speed-walks three times. a
week, and frequently exercises at the
Jewish Community Center in West
But, about four years ago, his strong
exercise regimen almost was his undo-
ing. Siegal experienced sharp chest pains
while lifting weights -- and drove him-
self to the hospital. The problem turned
out to be a torn aorta, the body's main
artery from the heart, but a milder ver-
sion of the type that recently resulted in
the death of actor John Ritter.
"Fortunately, it was a different kind
of tear, and they told me it would heal
itself," said Siegal. "But blood later
clogged up the aorta, and I returned to
the hospital for surgery to take care of
the problem. I'm back to lifting weights
again — but the lighter variety."
Siegal is an avid reader, mainly of
books about philosophy, the creation of
life and the origins of mankind. But he
blends what he finds in those books
with his viewpoints on the realities of
life in the world today.
"The rapid change in the world in
the last five years is causing instability; I
figure we're somewhere between a fire
and an explosion in regard to the global
economy and industrial society in gen-
eral, and it has created insecurity for the
world's population," he said.
How does the "visionary" envision
the future of architecture in the area?
'Architecture really just reflects socie-
ty and the values of people in general,"
he believes. "Many residents are aban-
doning the old cities — which are
becoming 'throwaway' communities —
and moving further north in this area,
causing high traffic and explosive subur-
'Along with that come the 'box'
stores, like Meijer and Costco, but peo-
ple don't care what they look like. That
type of building fits their needs, their
pursuit of happiness. So, it's a challenge
to the architects of today to maintain
"Part of that challenge is to develop
ecologically sensitive architecture —
what we call 'green' buildings — so our
future designs will reflect new technolo-
gy that is sensitive to the use of the sun
as a vital resource. In all of the future
projects at our firm, we're striving to
meet those standards."
He adds, modestly: "I've always just
wanted to contribute to the way people
live," and he quotes an ancient philoso-
pher, who said, 'Architecture is the
mother of all art _ s."
If that's true, then Leonard Siegal
must be one of her favorite sons.