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Chrysler Financial (Michigan National Corporation Headquarters)
The former Michigan National Corporation Headquarters Building is one of the finest examples of corporate Postmodern architecture in Michigan. Postmodern buildings such as this one borrow from historic architecture by adapting architectural materials, forms, and ornament to modern building contexts.
In an effort to consolidate administrative activities, Michigan National Corporation initiated the construction of a new headquarters in Farmington Hills. Robert J. Mylod, the company's chair, along with architects from Luckenbach/Ziegelman and Partners, toured Georgian and colonial buildings of Harvard University, Historic Williamsburg in Virginia, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, and the University of Virginia campus. Stylistic influences from these sources are manifest in the headquarters building, as in the warm brick exterior walls, arched walkways, inner courtyards, steeply sloped roofs, cupola, and dormerlike windows. The plan of the building has been organized to produce an intimate campuslike environment.
With its stylistic adaptations and campuslike spatial organization, the building reflects a late-twentieth-century trend in American corporate office design. Moreover, the historicism of traditional Early American architecture projects a friendly, human, trustworthy, and stable image that the banking institution sought.
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