Detroit’s Guardian Building

 Posted by on August 2, 2017
Aug 022017
 

500 Griswold Street
Detroit, Michigan

The Guardian Building

There has been so very, very much written about the Guardian Building of Detroit, that my writing here is simply for me to remember this stunning building and that I had the pleasure of walking into it and staring.

The Guardian Building of Detroit

The building is so massive it is difficult to photograph in its entirety, the roof line is exquisite and also hard to see when standing on the ground.

Built for the Union Trust Company the building is 486 feet tall with 40 floors and was the second tallest building in Detroit and the world’s tallest brick building when it opened in 1929.

Designed by Wirt Rowland of  Smith, Hichman, and Grylls it came in at a cost of $12million.

The tangerine colored “Guardian Brick” was formulated by Rowland and there were almost 2 million bricks used in its construction, he chose these specifically because they were cheaper than other materials.

This tiled semi-circular dome sits over the main entrance which includes a person with outstretched arms who serves to welcome people into the building. While difficult to see the figure is also winged. The wings represent aviation, which was experiencing a boom during the time of the building's construction

Pewabic Pottery can be seen on the lower portion of the building’s exterior facade, but from the brick up, the tiles are from the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company.The Guardian Building from afar

The Guardian Building Detroit

This tiled semi-circular dome sits over the main entrance which includes a person with outstretched arms who serves to welcome people into the building. While difficult to see the figure is also winged. The wings represent aviation, which was experiencing a boom during the time of the building’s construction

On either side of the tiled entryway dome are these carved figures by Corrado Parducci. These exterior figures hold swords in their hands representing security and safety, to ensure depositors their money is safe.

On either side of the tiled entryway, dome are these carved figures by Corrado Parducci. These exterior figures hold swords in their hands representing security and safety, to ensure depositors their money is safe.

Guardian Building

Even the tree planters on the exterior of the building celebrate the "notched arch" design that can be found throughout the building

Even the tree planters and the flag poles on the exterior of the building celebrate the “notched” design that can be found throughout the building.

flag poles on the Guardian

 Nicknamed “The Cathedral of Finance” the building held the money of one in every four bank depositors in the City of Detroit.

Guardian Building

Upon entering the building you will be overwhelmed with the arched ceiling covered in Rookwood tile from the Rookwood Pottery company of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Guardian Building

This pledge sits directly over the reception desk

Guardian Building Detroit

At the end of the two elevator bays are these stained glass angelic figures

The elevator doors are etched and painted

The elevator doors are etched and painted

The Guardian Building

Entry to the Banking Hall is through an elaborate grill of Monel metal.  Monel is a mixture of copper, nickel, and aluminum. Above the entryway is the original Tiffany clock.

Guardian Buildings Tiffany Clock

Looking at the Tiffany clock while standing in the Banking Hall

Ezra Winter Mural

The Banking Hall is dominated by a mural by Ezra Winter representing Michigan and her industries.

Guardian Building

The ceiling was stenciled by Anthony Eugenio who cut the entire ceiling himself. A crew of 10 painters used a pallet of 16 colors. Solid gold leaf adorns the sunburst arches; the rays of the sunbursts spread from the center of the ceiling down along the columns.

The tables of the bank also contain the notched design

The tables of the bank also contain the notched design

The attention to detail in every square inch of this building truly does make it one of the greatest in Detroit.  The building is open to the public on the ground floor with retail in the Banking Hall.  Tours are given of the building on weekends by Pure Detroit.