Downtown Detroit’s famous NBD Building architect dies at 91
John Calvin Haro, the architect and designer of the National Bank of Detroit headquarters, the historic downtown Detroit building that now houses Quicken Loans, died on April 9th in Phoenix, Arizona, at the age of 91.
A long-time member of the Albert Kahn Associates architectural firm, Haro was known for designing dozens of important buildings – from the headquarters of a number of companies to many buildings on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor.
Haro’s numerous projects at UM include the Physics and Astronomy Building, the Modern Languages Building, the Adult General Hospital, the Graduate Library, and the Duderstadt Center, the Information Technology Center and the Library.
Born in 1929 in Gary, Indiana, the well-known architect grew up in Michigan and completed his undergraduate studies at Michigan Technical University and the University of Michigan. From the latter he received a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1950.
Haro served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He then earned a Master of Architecture at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in 1955.
During his time at Kahn, he held many positions including Senior Vice President and Director of Design and Planning.
He received the Wheelwright Traveling Fellowship from Harvard University and was a fellow at the American Institute of Architects. Haro has received numerous awards for design and urban planning, including gold medals from the Detroit Chapter of the AIA and the Michigan Society of Architects.
“John has been a valued and willing mentor to many architects across the country and in his own company. He directed an incredible list of Kahn projects for a diverse collection of appreciative customers, ”said Alan H. Cobb, President and CEO of the Kahn Company.
Haro also oversaw the creation of Avon’s corporate headquarters, Eli Lilly’s Engineering Technology Center, and the Washington Post headquarters.
Upon retirement, Haro designed homes, churches, and school additions in the Houghton and Hancock area of Michigan.
He lived long periods in Birmingham and Houghton as well as Scottsdale, Arizona, where he continued his work as an architect and developed his passion for drawing, painting and connecting with his Finnish heritage.
Haro was preceded in the death by his wife of 65 years, Elizabeth. He is survived by his children; John S., Alex and Alison; and five grandchildren.