The Guardian Building, Detroit

November 22, 2006

The Guardian Building Lobby

Last Look at Promenade by – SNWEB.ORG

SNWEB says that the Guardian Building is Detroit’s best kept secret. It is considered one of the most significant Art Deco skyscrapers in the world and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Billed as “The Cathedral of Finance”, the building was designed for the Union Trust Company in the Roaring 20s by noted architect Wirt C. Rowland. A defining characteristic is the use of color. Rowland explained “We no longer live in a leisurely age … the impression must be immediate, strong and complete. Color has this vital power.”

The Guardian Building web site says:

Guardian Building Lobby

Designed by Michigan architects; erected by Michigan contractors; built by Michigan artisans–the Guardian Building is virtually a temple of Michigan commerce and ingenuity. The Griswold Street entrance is crowned with a semi-dome lined with symbolic custom tiles by Mary Chase Stratton’s Pewabic Pottery of Detroit. The lobby features a large glass mosaic and the banking hall’s spectacular mural are both by Michigan artist Ezra Winter. Flanking the sides of the main entrance are reliefs designed by Detroit’s own architectural sculptor Corrado Parducci. In all, forty artisans worked on the structure’s painted murals and ceilings, intricate tile work, mosaic and stained glass, marble fixtures and vaulted lobby.

Check out a slideshow of Guardian Building photos from Flickr. Also see the excellent article Guardian Building has long been the crown jewel in Detroit skyline in the Detroit News’ Rearview Mirror and Guardian Building in Wikipedia.

6 Responses to “The Guardian Building, Detroit”

  1. Great post, I stumbled on it through flickr. I really, really appreciate that you took the time to research it and write it up instead of just posting a picture.

    This is how a blog post should be done.


  2. John Kantzes Says:

    Excellent slide show !!Any other pictures of Detroit architecture- especially interior shots ?


  3. michpics Says:

    John, if you click through to Flickr, you can see a ton of photos of the Guardian building. Then you can click those photos to get to even more photos.


  4. […] Michigan in Pictures has more about the Spirit of Detroit by Marshall Fredericks and you can take a step inside the lobby of the Guardian Building. […]


  5. […] building’s architect, Wirt C. Rowland, also designed such memorable Detroit skyscrapers as the Guardian Building in the same decade. At night, the building’s upper floors are dramatically lit in floodlight […]


  6. […] the Penobscot (once the 8th tallest building in the world and now 2nd tallest in Detroit) and the Guardian Building on Michigan in Pictures. They were both designed by Wirt C. Rowland, who was a heck of an […]


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