Howard F. Sims, FAIA, B.S.'63, M.Arch.’66, Minority Architecture Pioneer Remembered

Howard F. Sims, FAIA, B.S.’63, M.Arch.’66, Minority Architecture Pioneer Remembered

Esteemed Taubman College alum Howard F. Sims has died at the age of 82. Sims was a groundbreaking architect and founder of Sims Design Group Associates LLC (formerly Sims-Varner) in downtown Detroit, established in 1966. SDG Associates is Michigan’s oldest minority-owned architecture firm. Sims attended the University of Michigan for both his undergraduate and graduate studies, earning a B.S., Architecture in 1963 and a Master of Architecture in 1966.

Sims is known for the design and planning of several Detroit buildings, schools and museums. Some of his significant designs include the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Cobo Center, the Millender Center apartments, the Detroit Wayne County Port Authority Public Dock and Terminal, facilities at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport and the Wayne County Community College District’s main downtown campus. Sims additionally worked on the University of Michigan School of Social Work.

“Howard Sims’ legacy and contributions are unchallenged having received many awards for his work and noted as the founder of the oldest minority-owned architect firm in Michigan,” said family spokesman David Rudolph in a news release. “He valued education and worked to foster more minorities in the field of architecture.”

Sims was a supporter of Detroit high school student architecture programs in coordination with Taubman College efforts. He and his wife, Judith, have supported Taubman College students through the Howard and Judith Sims Merit Scholarship, established in 1983 to encourage and assist in the education of African American students in architecture. Sims additionally served on the college alumni Board of Governors.

Services will be held on April 9 at Shriner’s Silver Garden Event Center at 24350 Southfield Road in Southfield.  The Special Tributes will start at 10:30am and the Service at 11am-12:30pm.