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 favorite Art Deco examples is in the much bashed “Motor City”: Detroit, 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 even just casual conversation. Built in 1928 and finished in 1929, this 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 which 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.

Should you find yourself in Detroit anytime soon, I highly recommend checking out the 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.