Architectural Treasure Trove


Something that surprises most visitors to Detroit is the many wonderful examples of various architectural styles. The buildings are a timeline in and of themselves. You can see the history of the city just by the buildings. I am so excited by the opportunity to live in Mies van der Rohe building, while some of my favorite non-residential buildings are designs by Albert Kahn, Yamasaki and Smith, Hinchman and Grylls.

Sadly, Detroit does have a lot of abandoned buildings. Some intentionally left to rot by their owners who seem more interested in surface parking than saving history. (Detroit does NOT have a parking problem) Others due to a serious lack of money but the desire to refurbish them is there.

Any visitor to the city should have a copy of AIA Detroit, while residents and serious architecture buffs should have W. Hawkins Ferry’s bible The Buildings of Detroit: A History. Ferry’s book is difficult to come by as it is out of print and available copies can be pricey but it is worth the investment.

Of course, you can always cheat and just participate in a Preservation Wayne tour. Tours explore the many theatres in the city, the automotive heritage this city is built upon, the buildings of Downtown, the Cultural Center and Midtown and the must see Eastern Market. Some tours even focus on a specific architect since there are large collections of Louis Kamper and Albert Kahn designs in the city.

2 Comments so far

  1. babblingdweeb (unregistered) on July 26th, 2005 @ 2:56 pm

    I agree, I have a few friends that when visiting they were blown away at the age of some of our buildings. It’s a shame to not have more money in the city to preserve these buildings too…they are not just Detroit history, but American history. I spend a lot of time working with a group to help preserve the Masonic Temple [Midtown, Detroit]…there are not enough well preserved Gothic Buildings in Detroit; let alone the U.S.

    Well writen! :)

  2. Austere (unregistered) on July 27th, 2005 @ 8:31 am

    Great to finally have Detriot blog. I was reading some of the blogs and the bloggers are great too. I am another person lost in the suburbs of detroit, And I have been looking for a decent place like that for a long time.

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