Art Deco landmark: Guardian Building

Art Deco landmark: Guardian Building

I was recently inspired by a post I read on Art Deco landmarks around the world, to think over some examples I love of one of my favorite architectural periods. All over the world are stunning examples of this great period in architectural history. One of my favorites is Detroit’s Guardian Building.

The Guardian Building

is located in the much bashed “Motor City,”aka Detroit in the state of Michigan. The Guardian Building is just one of many incredible structures in the Detroit area that is so often overlooked because most people focus on all the wrong things when the city comes up in the media or casual conversation.

About Detroit’s Guardian Building

It was built in 1928 and finished in 1929. The Art Deco building has served many purposes since its completion but today serves as the headquarters for Wayne County. It’s open to the public during office hours, Monday through Friday.  In the lobby is also a gift shop with an impressive selection of “Made in MI” gifts and a little French cafe.

The building is a classic example from the Art Deco period but also features Art Moderne details and an obvious ode to the Native Americans that called the area now known as Michigan, home. Outside are two guardian-like figures, which contributed to the building’s present name, that flank the main entrance on Griswold Street.  Atop the building are also period-appropriate details but it is the inside that always captivates me and which I’m choosing to highlight in this post. It’s hard to do the lobby of the Guardian Building justice without heavy photographic equipment – which isn’t allowed. These images were all captured on the fly, while dodging security guards. inside Detroit's Guardian Building by Kirsten Alana
inside Detroit's Guardian Building by Kirsten Alanainside Detroit's Guardian Building by Kirsten Alanainside Detroit's Guardian Building by Kirsten Alana

Should you find yourself in Detroit anytime soon, I highly recommend checking out Detroit’s Guardian Building for yourself. It’s truly a landmark deserving of attention and in my opinion, a diamond in the rough that is Detroit.

I’d also recommend a tour of Pewabic Pottery, which along with Rookwood, supplied the tiles used so heavily in the building’s decor.

See more of my posts about the state of Michigan.

  • November 09, 2010

    Holy smokes, you weren’t kidding – that IS an incredible building! WOW!

    Thank you so much for sharing. Beautiful!

  • November 10, 2010

    Wow! Seriously great images here 🙂

    You’re right in that it’s difficult to capture images at the Guardian–mostly because of the lighting (Same goes for the Fisher, which is another favorite of mine). I’ve yet to get anything I really liked with just a hand-held camera in either building.
    Hoping to try again at the Guardian one of these days with my faster zoom that I got earlier this year.

  • November 10, 2010

    Hi Kirsten!
    I love your blog – the pictures you have are really inspiring… I don’t know the US much yet (I’ve only been in NY and Miami), but you’ve got some really good recommendations there 😉
    What camera do you use?

  • November 10, 2010

    Hi Kirsten!

    Thanks for the comments on! I came to your site and was awed by the pictures! I love the colors and patterns, could stare at them all day! lol

    Savannah, Georgia is on my list of places to visit. Thanks for the tip. 🙂


    PS: Followed you on Twitter @bbadwoman.

  • November 11, 2010

    Being from Toronto, Detroit scares me but I love these photos. I must conquer my fear and take a ride down when I get back.

  • November 11, 2010

    Gorgeous photos — those colors are just incredible! I love Art Deco architecture too.

  • November 14, 2010

    My parents lived just north of Detroit for a couple of years and past it’s rough facade, it has some really unique places. I haven’t heard of this one though, so thanks for sharing!

  • November 14, 2010

    WOW. Those are amazing!! What a cool place… I’ve never been to Detroit. I need another road trip!

  • November 16, 2010

    Interesting article – you have captured the colours, patterns and displays of this place. Incredible place to walk through.

  • November 17, 2010

    totally awesome.

  • December 15, 2010

    I was literally just there the other day on business. I love the hidden beauty of Detroit.

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