Guardian Building (Union Trust Building, Union Guardian Building)

Guardian Building, Detroit, Michigan

SIGNIFICANCE

The Guardian Building is part of the progression of the American skyscraper that began with Cass Gilbert's Woolworth Building in New York and is one of the most exuberant Art Deco skyscrapers built in America. Brilliantly colored Arts and Crafts tiles and orange brick, formulated especially for this building, cover the thirty-six-story steel-frame structure. From its location on an entire block in the financial district, the warm and colorful bank building exudes a friendly cordiality.

The building is profusely ornamented inside and out with geometric designs executed in brilliantly colored terra cotta and glazed tile, and gold-stained glass and metal. Because of its plan, its lofty banking room with nave and side aisles, and its sumptuous decoration, the bank and office building appropriately was termed a "cathedral of finance."

DESIGNATION(S)

  • 1989, National Historic Landmark
  • 1989, National Register of Historic Places

ARCHITECT, BUILDER, OR DESIGNER(S)

  • Wirt C. Rowland, architect
  • Mary Chase Perry Stratton, ceramics artist

SIGNIFICANT DATES

  • 1928, building constructed

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