9 Instagram Worthy Architectural Must-See’s in Detroit

September 10, 2021 | Story by Samantha Scott | Photos by Photos Courtesy of Bill Bowen and The Charles H. Wright Museum

Detroit architecture is second to none. Dawned the ‘Paris of the West,’ jaws drop as you walk throughout the various neighborhoods, taking in the ornate detail, design and the structures as a whole. In honor of the Detroit Month of Design, we’ve chosen a handful of our favorite place to take selfies, us(ies), boomerangs and more. Check them out!

 

The Guardian Building

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Pure Detroit (@puredetroit313)

Making its debut in 1929, the The Guardian Building designed by Wirt C. Rowland, is a classic art deco skyscraper, standing tall at 40-floors high. Built with an orange brick exterior that boasts an unrivaled beauty and home to the most stunning lobby in the city. Be sure to see the artistic details of the Aztec design made of Rookwood Pottery and Pewabic Tile.

 

Fisher Building

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Fisher Building (@fisherbldgdet)

The last building completed in Detroit before the Great Depression, this Albert Kahn original was designed and intended for the Fisher Brothers. Find this landmark building in the New Center area, and take in the more than 40 different types of marble and a stunning arcade covered in frescoes and mosaics designed by Geza R. Maroti. It’s hard to believe that it looks just as stunning when the sun goes down.

Learn more about the architectural genius behind this widely acclaimed landmark all month long at the new “ALBERT KAHN: CREATING THE MODERN WORLD”.

 

Penobscot Building

 

The Greater Penobscot also designed by Wirt Rowland, is a 47-story Art Deco skyscraper with a glowing red globe that makes the Penobscot one of the most recognizable in Detroit’s skyline. The building’s impressive interior has museum-standard ornaments that are a tribute to the native Penobscot Indians.

 

The Masonic Temple

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Masonic Temple Detroit (@masonicdet)

Detroit’s Masonic Temple is the largest of its kind in the world with over 1,000 rooms including three theaters, the Shrine tower, the chapel, two ballrooms, and many lodge rooms. It was designed by George Mason and houses a magnificent lobby by sculptor Corrado Parducci. Guided tours are available as well as virtual and multi-lingual tours.

 

Fox Theatre

 

Built in 1928 by C. Howard Crane as a movie theatre, the Fox Theatre is one of Detroit’s most popular venues for live entertainment. Once in disrepair, this National Historic Landmark was bought and restored to its original grandeur in 1987 by the Ilitch family. Today, visitors can watch a concert or comedy show as well as take tours showcasing its exquisite beauty and extravagant architectural design.

 

Renaissance Center

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Michigan Photographer (@rsouthen)

Arguably the most iconic building in Detroit’s skyline, the Renaissance Center was designed by John Portman & Associates and opened in 1977. Totaling at a jaw dropping 5.5 million total square feet, the Renaissance Center, stands like the grand enterance to the city, on the riverfront. The building literally has its own zip code and way finder app to help get around it. Trust us, you will need it. Don’t miss out on the Winter garden atrium has excellent views of the riverfront and Canada.

 

Charles H. Wright Museum

 

Charles H. Wright Museum African American History

The 125,000 square-foot facility built by the Black owned architecture firm, Sims-Varner and Associates, opened its doors to this iconic museum in 1997. Though this museum. Has a plethora of distinct features, it’s most known for its rotunda and high glass dome atrium.

 

 

McGregor Memorial Conference Center

 

Find one of the most tranquil buildings in Detroit at the Wayne State University campus in the New Center area. Designed by Minoru Yamasaki in 1958, the McGregor Memorial Conference Center features, a zen-like reflecting pool welcoming visitors inside to experience the beautiful geometric patterned skylight.

 

One Campus Martius

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Robert Schroeder (@robertschroeder_)

Originally built as the Compuware headquarter building in 2003, the nearly 1 million-square-foot office tower was sold to Bedrock and Meridian Health years later. The glass atrium and arch that stretches across the façade alone are worth the trip downtown.

Was this article helpful?

Yes No
Mentioned Attractions And Venues





  1. 1
    The Masonic of Detroit
    500 Temple Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
    313-638-2724
  2. 2
    Fox Theatre
    2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
    313-471-3211
  3. 3
    GM Renaissance Center
    100 GM Renaissance Center, Detroit, MI 48243
    313-567-3126
  4. 4
    Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
    315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201
    313-494-5800
  5. 5
  6. 6
    Bedrock Detroit - OCM 16th Floor Event Space
    One Campus Martius, 16th Floor, Detroit, MI 48226
    313-373-8720
  7. 7
    The Guardian Building
    500 Griswold St, Detroit, MI 48226, USA
    (313) 963-4567
  8. 8
    The Fisher Building
    3011 E Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48202, USA
    (313) 874-1100
  9. 9