Through the Lens
The Architecture of Detroit
Published: September 4, 2013
Beaux-Arts architecture was popular from 1880 through 1920. This style can be identified by the following features: A flat roof, statues and sculptures, mosaics and other artwork — all coordinated in a theme — to assert the identity of the building.
The Wayne County Building
The Wayne County Building was constructed from 1897 through 1902. It has an ornate, Beaux-Arts style with elements of Baroque (the central tower) and Neo-Classical (the Greek pillars in front) architecture. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Bingley Fales House
Built in 1907, the Bingley Fales House located in Indian Village is a prime example of Neo-Georgian architecture, which shares the same features of its original architectural movement. Georgian architecture gained popularity in the 1890s, lasting through the 1920s. Predominant features of this style include symmetrical windows, a heavily accented archway, and columned porches.
The Book Tower
The Book Tower is a 38-story skyscraper built in 1916 as an addition to the original Book Building and finished a decade later. A taller Book Tower of 81 stories was to be built at the opposite end of the Book Building, but the Great Depression canceled those plans. The last tenant of the building relocated in 2009; the building has since remained vacant.
The Guardian Building
The Guardian Building might be Detroit’s textbook example of Art Deco architecture. Originally called the Union Trust Building, the building was constructed from 1928-1929. The building is part of a historic district, listed with the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. Art Deco Architecture features geometric forms arranged in symmetrical patterns. The colors tend to be very bright and high-contrast. The Art Deco Style flourished from the 1920s to the end of the 1940s.
Queen Anne architecture
This Queen Anne-style home was built in 1906. Queen Anne architecture was popular from 1880 to 1910. Mass production made buildings more affordable, which brought more elaborate designs to homes. The most common features of this style include a large, wraparound porch, a tower or turret projecting from the second floor and bay windows. Often, the front of the house will have highly detailed ornamentation.
The Fox Theatre
The Fox Theatre is both on the National Register of Historic Places and a National Historic Landmark. This theater is notable for being the first to be constructed in 1928 with built-in equipment for sound films. Like many theaters built in the 1920s, the Fox Theatre has a very strong Art Deco flavor with bold colors and symmetric decoration. The signature marquee of the building was installed in 1987 while retaining the characteristics of the original sign.
Tudor Revival architecture