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Old August 26th, 2012, 07:11 PM   #41
cameronpaul
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Thanks very much for this amazing collection of Detroit's incredible heritage of Art Deco and Beaux-Arts buildings - these structures are as fine as any early 20th c. examples in the world, every bit as good as those from NYC or Chicago etc.
I hope Daniel Burnham's building gets it's original design restored, he was such an important architect it's criminal to bastardise any of his projects.
Glad to see the old GM HQ is still there and in good condition, I was always concerned that after they moved out, the complex might have been destroyed. When constructed it was, I believe, the largest office building in the world. Would love to see the Michigan theatre restored,it was one of the finest ever built (certainly in the top 5 or 6) but take the point that there would be no demand for yet another large auditorium in the city. At least the Fox survives and hopefully, thrives, though it's not as good architecturally.
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Old August 26th, 2012, 11:52 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erbse View Post
^ What's that? Looks terrific
Erbse, I purposefully didn't mention what that was, teasingly thinking that someone would question such an unusual (and beautiful) space. But that is the inside of this....

image hosted on flickr


... it's the great false window of the former Michigan Theatre. The former glorious French Renaissance lobby was 50ft. back from the actual window. There are former theatre offices and lobby spaces in between. The original architects of the Michigan was the Chicago firm known as Rapp and Rapp. They were famous for putting large arched windows over the theatre entrance, even when the lobby was not right behind the window. There are quite a few American movie palaces with this false window arrangement, most with simple curtains covering the window space... but here the architects decided to use mirrors with a (since vanished) chandelier (a very long one) to light up the space so that people outside of the building would look in thinking they were looking into a gloriously lit up lobby (this effect only worked at night).

I did some research, and the Michigan had the largest and most ornate false window of any American movie palace. What is really surprising about this space is that it was never meant to be viewed from the inside!! It's shape can best be described as "4 story half-rotunda".
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Old August 27th, 2012, 12:12 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronpaul View Post
Thanks very much for this amazing collection of Detroit's incredible heritage of Art Deco and Beaux-Arts buildings - these structures are as fine as any early 20th c. examples in the world, every bit as good as those from NYC or Chicago etc.
I hope Daniel Burnham's building gets it's original design restored, he was such an important architect it's criminal to bastardise any of his projects.
Glad to see the old GM HQ is still there and in good condition, I was always concerned that after they moved out, the complex might have been destroyed. When constructed it was, I believe, the largest office building in the world. Would love to see the Michigan theatre restored,it was one of the finest ever built (certainly in the top 5 or 6) but take the point that there would be no demand for yet another large auditorium in the city. At least the Fox survives and hopefully, thrives, though it's not as good architecturally.
You're very welcome!

As for the Michigan... it would cost about $100 million to restore it back to where it was... a figure that likely means it will never be restored. Also, with the Fox Theatre seating at (max) 5,174 and Masonic Theatre at 4,404... it seems unlikely that a 4,050 seat Michigan is needed in Detroit.

Also, some think that the "Siamese Byzantine" style of the over the top "Temple Style" Fox Theatre was more beautiful than the French Renaissance "Palace Style" Michigan Theatre... but everyone has their own taste... some find the Fox too "over the top"....

Here's a number of historic (and present) images of the Michigan as it once was, and how it looks since it was "disemboweled" in 1977 for a 3 level parking structure....

http://www.waterwinterwonderland.com...82&LocTypeID=5

And here's some historic and newer images of the restored Fox Theatre...

http://www.waterwinterwonderland.com...97&LocTypeID=5
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Old August 27th, 2012, 06:18 PM   #44
cameronpaul
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
You're very welcome!

As for the Michigan... it would cost about $100 million to restore it back to where it was... a figure that likely means it will never be restored. Also, with the Fox Theatre seating at (max) 5,174 and Masonic Theatre at 4,404... it seems unlikely that a 4,050 seat Michigan is needed in Detroit.

Also, some think that the "Siamese Byzantine" style of the over the top "Temple Style" Fox Theatre was more beautiful than the French Renaissance "Palace Style" Michigan Theatre... but everyone has their own taste... some find the Fox too "over the top"....

Here's a number of historic (and present) images of the Michigan as it once was, and how it looks since it was "disemboweled" in 1977 for a 3 level parking structure....

http://www.waterwinterwonderland.com...82&LocTypeID=5

And here's some historic and newer images of the restored Fox Theatre...

http://www.waterwinterwonderland.com...97&LocTypeID=5
Thanks for the links. I have always been fascinated by the American "Picture Palace" they were such amazing places for mass entertainment and it's sad to see how some like the Michigan have ended their days.
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Old August 27th, 2012, 08:18 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronpaul View Post
Thanks for the links. I have always been fascinated by the American "Picture Palace" they were such amazing places for mass entertainment and it's sad to see how some like the Michigan have ended their days.
Sad as the Michigan is... at least it's still 1/2 there...

The most heartbreaking loss was the 1963 demolition of the San Francisco, considered by many to have been the most beautiful of American movie palaces... it's hard to watch this demolition without wondering "what were they thinking???"

http://youtu.be/t8o90jvKRec
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Old September 1st, 2012, 01:21 AM   #46
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Detroit has many "cathedrals" of entertainment... I've shown some nice images of the Fabulous Fox Theatre, the Detroit Opera House... and now the Detroit State Theatre... now known as the Fillmore.... Detroit's cathedral of rock...

Here is the 12 story Italian Renaissance Building from the outside along Detroit's major street, along with a parade of other tall classic buildings....

image hosted on flickr


Here's the inside the auditorium looking up 8 stories to the coffered ceiling dome with laser lights....

image hosted on flickr


The immenseness of the 8 story auditorium ceiling dome is inescapable from anywhere in the theatre... (image by Sherlockphotos.com...)

image hosted on flickr


The stage and procenium from the upper balcony level (image by Sherlockphotos.com).

image hosted on flickr


And this image by Sherlockphotos.com ... is of the 3 story barrel vaulted Grand Foyer....

image hosted on flickr
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Last edited by Gistok; September 1st, 2012 at 01:37 AM.
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Old September 2nd, 2012, 06:35 PM   #47
cameronpaul
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
Sad as the Michigan is... at least it's still 1/2 there...

The most heartbreaking loss was the 1963 demolition of the San Francisco, considered by many to have been the most beautiful of American movie palaces... it's hard to watch this demolition without wondering "what were they thinking???"

http://youtu.be/t8o90jvKRec
Yes I know what you mean. Personally I think from all the photos I have seen, the New York Capitol (Thomas Lamb) was the finest of them all, but of course it's a matter of taste. Detroit sure is lucky to have a few left which is more than can be said for some other cities.
I hope when the American economy recovers Detroit will benefit from a renaissance as it obviously has much to offer - I will visit there someday.
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 12:37 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronpaul View Post
Yes I know what you mean. Personally I think from all the photos I have seen, the New York Capitol (Thomas Lamb) was the finest of them all, but of course it's a matter of taste. Detroit sure is lucky to have a few left which is more than can be said for some other cities.
I hope when the American economy recovers Detroit will benefit from a renaissance as it obviously has much to offer - I will visit there someday.
Detroit has 2 downtown theatre's left that need restoration... the 800 seat National Theatre, and the 2070 seat Detroit United Artists, which was an acoustic marvel (the Detroit Symphony Orchestra taped their CDs from there). But both theatres are in pretty rough shape... and would need many millions to restore.

But the 1910 Albert Kahn designed (his only theatre commission) has an exterior that was cleaned up for SuperBowl 40 a few years ago, and looks very "Moorish" in its' exterior design, while the interior is almost Palladian.
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 11:38 PM   #49
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Detroit's famous 2,286 seat Orchestra Hall (with all the rich resonance and acoustics of NYC Carnegie
Hall) was derilect and came within weeks of being torn down in 1970 for a Pizza parlor. Luckily some
Detroit Symphony Orchestra members (who were playing at acoustically dead Ford Auditorium) got
together and stopped demolition. Today Orchestra Hall has been fully restored to its' 1919 glory, as
well as a $125 million addition (circulation space, dressing rooms, offices, a large atrium and an
additional recital hall). Today Orchestra Hall is a main anchor on Woodward Ave. (Detrroit's main
street) in Detroit's Midtown, and has had a lot of spin off development in the area. Another theatre
rehab... the restoration of the 1,300 Garden Theatre 4 blocks to the north is in the works. That
theatre was closed for 25 years after being a burlesque house.

image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr

Last edited by Gistok; September 4th, 2012 at 01:34 AM.
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Old September 4th, 2012, 12:11 AM   #50
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Another Detroit gem is the 1,770 seat Music Hall, the city's major dance theatre. It was built by
Dodge widow Matilda Dodge Wilson in 1928 as a legitimate theatre, but it turned to being a movie
house within a decade. For a while the Detroit Symphony Orchestra played here after leaving
bankrupt Orchestra Hall. The theatre was renamed Music Hall, which has been its' name ever since,
even though the Detroit Symphony Orchestra soon moved elsewhere. This theatre is where Michigan
Opera Theatre started in 1971, long before moving to the completely restored Detroit Opera House
(formerly derilect Capitol Theatre) in 1996.

Today this midsized venue is a non-profit, and has been competely restored. On top of the facade are
Art Deco sculptures of Comedy and Drama, intermixed with colorful Art Deco tilework. The facade is
mainly Mankato stone. The interior ornate plasterwork resembles wooden beams... but it's all painted
ornate plaster.

image hosted on flickr


The unusual frieze along the top of the 6 story building made of Mankato stone and tile. The tall
vertical had been elsewhere in storage for decades, and was recently found and re-installed.

image hosted on flickr



The Procenium and stage....

image hosted on flickr


Since it was built as a legitimate theatre, Music Hall's double balcony do not have the fancy
ornamentation found in other Detroit theatre's.

image hosted on flickr



The fancy plasterwork stenciled ceiling of the auditorium, made to look like painted wood.

image hosted on flickr

Last edited by Gistok; September 4th, 2012 at 12:17 AM.
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Old September 4th, 2012, 12:15 AM   #51
cameronpaul
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Orchestra Hall is a very fine theatre with it's restrained neo-classical facade and beautiful auditorium another world class building Detroit can be justly proud of.
Thanks for these great photos.
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Old September 4th, 2012, 02:01 AM   #52
Gistok
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One thing that you will find in almost all Detroit theatres is that they're attached to office buildings. As I already mentioned back in the 1920s land in the downtown area was very expensive, so buildings and theatres were built together in one complex. This is the norm, rather than the exception.

And with the exception of the former Michigan Theatre all of Detroit's theatres built within an office tower had no architectural way to indicate that this was a movie theatre... besides a marquee, vertical blade sign, and a large set of doors. Otherwise the front of the buildings looked just like office buildings anywhere in the USA.
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Old September 7th, 2012, 06:18 PM   #53
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The JL Hudson Building had 7 stories underground too.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 09:38 PM   #54
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Detroit is on the Detroit RIver, across the river from Windsor Canada. So that makes Detroit the
busiest border crossing between USA and Canada. Because the Detroit River is a connector between
the Great Lakes, all ocean and lake freighters going from the lower Great Lakes (Erie and Ontario) and
the upper Great Lakes (Huron, Michigan and Superior) must pass thru the Detroit River.

In the middle of the river near downtown is a 982 acre park called Belle Isle, the largest island city
park in the USA. This park (like New York's Central Park) was laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted in the
later 1800s.

The deep shipping lanes are on the Canadian side of the island, and on the USA side is the Douglas
MacArthur Bridge (before 1942 named just the Belle Isle Bridge). This concrete 19 arch bridge was
built in 1922, and replaced a wooden bridge that burned down in 1915.

image hosted on flickr


(Image by Missdaisy44...)
image hosted on flickr


The largest fountain in Detroit is on the western tip of Belle Isle, known as the Scott Fountain (1915)
and has an enormous triangular lagoon...
image hosted on flickr


image hosted on flickr


Fountain cascading down to the lagoon...
image hosted on flickr


Fountain from across the lagoon....

image hosted on flickr


1908 built Belle Isle Casino (site of many wedding receptions).... (image by Buck Cash)
image hosted on flickr


Belle Isle's Nancy Brown Peace Tower Carillion...
image hosted on flickr


Belle Isle (Anna Scripps Whitcombe) Conservatory (by Rich S.)....
image hosted on flickr


Facade of the long Belle Isle Aquarium... nations oldest (1904)...
image hosted on flickr


One of Belle Isle's many canals and ornate old bridges. The island has 1/2 dozen canals, 2 lagoons and
a lake...
image hosted on flickr


Connected to Belle Isle (via a wooden bridge) is the massive sprawling and historic Detroit Yacht Club.
image hosted on flickr


Built on a massive scale, some of the public rooms of the Detroit Yacht Club have ceilings up to 40 feet high...
image hosted on flickr

Last edited by Gistok; September 9th, 2012 at 12:07 AM.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 04:20 AM   #55
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Awesome thread. I go to Detroit about once or twice a year and I always enjoy checking out it's hidden gems! Detroit is very underrated!
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Old September 14th, 2012, 04:49 AM   #56
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Quote:
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Awesome thread. I go to Detroit about once or twice a year and I always enjoy checking out it's hidden gems! Detroit is very underrated!
Chadoh25, one of Columbus's greatest gems was produced by a Detroit Architect who designed many of Detroit's greatest theatres... the Detroit Fox, the Detroit Opera House, the State/Fillmore Theatre and Orchestra Hall were all designed by C. Howard Crane, who also designed arguably Columbus's most classic and beautiful skyscrapers... the 555ft, 47 story Leveque Tower back in 1927. It was labeled one of the most beautiful buildings at the time, and has a soaring verticality missing in many buildings since or before. Sadly Crane did not design the Palace Theatre inside the Leveque Building... the Palace Theatre folks (of Radio Keith Orpheum... of RKOfame), prefered architect Thomas Lamb, who was not yet in his "exotic" phase (as he was when he designed the opulent Ohio Theatre 16 months later)... so "had" Crane designed the Palace Theatre as well as the Leveque Tower... it would have been much a more exotic theatre.

There was no such thing as a "Crane" style of theaters, as there was with other architects (Thomas Lamb was in his "Adams classic phase" when he designed the Palace, who built nearly identical theatres for nearly a decade, and those from 1917-27 were rather dull). Crane's theatre's were all pretty much unique... until he designed his masterpieces... his twin Detroit and St. Louis Fox Theatres with over 5,000 seats each.

Allthough the Leveque Tower was Crane's tallest skyscraper commission, he also had other commissions, such as Detroit's Olympia Arena (home of the Detroit Red Wings from 1927-83)... and also London England's famous Earls Court Convention Center (he built it on a site where 4 rail lines and Underground lines converged, and for 20 years prior, architects said it could not be done, until Crane came along in 1937). Crane's 1938 opened Earls Court is legendary for everything from trade fairs, to rock concerts. Its' most recent claim to fame was the Volleyball location for the 2012 London Olympics.
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Old December 31st, 2012, 05:47 PM   #57
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lately I have read in the most important spanish newspaper articles about Detroit, I share it with you because I think that is really curious that thing:

http://sociedad.elpais.com/sociedad/...03_122798.html

http://elpais.com/diario/2011/02/06/...17_850215.html

http://elviajero.elpais.com/elviajer...61_667626.html

http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/20...19_821323.html

http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/20...88_396313.html

http://elpais.com/diario/2009/11/08/...65_850215.html
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Old December 31st, 2012, 10:35 PM   #58
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There are a few photography exhibits of detroit at the national building museum and they show both the historical gem and modern decrepit sides of detroit
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Old November 1st, 2013, 10:24 AM   #59
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Well I've been away for a while working on other projects such as finishing up a 3000 page collectors guide for LEGO... the world's most popular building toy! ... as a 73 chapter collectible download...
http://legocollectorsguide.weebly.com/

But I will be posting some more images in the next week or two...
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Old November 3rd, 2013, 08:03 AM   #60
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Combing through the thread for the first time I noticed the absence of the Book Tower. Apparently it was completely abandoned from 1989 until 2009 when it was purchased by a Vancouver-based group that now finally seems to be moving forward with a renovation.





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