Art, Arts & Culture, City Transformation

Noted Detroit architect Howard Sims to be remembered for his art, design and generosity


Take a walk around Detroit, and you’ll see some of the world’s greatest architects reflected in the city’s inspirational architecture: Albert Kahn’s factories, Minoru Yamasaki’s One Woodward and the iconic landmarks of Howard Sims, including the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Sims 4The architecture world and Detroit in particular is now mourning the loss of Sims, who died March 31 due to complications from an apparent heart attack and diabetes. He was the founder of Sims Design Group (SDG) Associates LLC (formerly Sims-Varner), the oldest minority architecture firm in Michigan, known for many area buildings, schools and museums.

Sims and his firm are behind significant landmarks including Cobo Center, the Millender Center apartments, the Detroit Wayne County Port Authority Public Dock & Terminal and the Wayne County Community College District’s main downtown campus.

Sims 6The native Detroiter also is remembered for his kind and generous spirit and for his on-going support of the Metro Detroit community, friends say.

“Our hearts are heavy on the passing of Howard Sims, a husband, father, dreamer, innovator, mentor and architect who designed, built or renovated many buildings in metro Detroit,” said David Rudolph spokesperson for the Sims Family.

Sims’ legacy is reflected in other ways, Rudolph noted. He valued education and worked to foster more minorities in the field of architecture – establishing scholarships at University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Lawrence Technological University and Oakland University.

Sims 2He was born July 25, 1933, to Anne and Joseph Sims. He was a man of many accolades and achievements as an architect, business owner, board member of many prominent organizations and companies and as a philanthropist.

His Board involvement included the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Comerica Bank, DTE Energy, the Federal Reserve Detroit Branch and St. John Hospital. He was an avid golfer, loved audio visual and other technology and enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.

Sims 3A private family visitation will take place at 4:00 pm on Thursday, April 7, at Swanson Funeral Home Northwest Chapel: 14751 West McNichols, Detroit, Mich., 48235.

Public viewing will be held at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Friday, April 8, from 2 until 8 p.m. located at 315 East Warren Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202.  Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, at Empowerment Church (at the Shriners Silver Garden Event Center) located at 24350 Southfield Road, Southfield, MI 48075.  Family Hour will precede the services at 9:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Diabetes Association or the American Heart Association.

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