When you take a look at some of the architectural genius that goes into the making of our landmark structures here in Michigan, you begin to appreciate our rich standing in American culture. We’ve got so many fine works of Art Deco, Neoclassical, and mid-century design that it’s hard to keep track. We thought we would compile a modest collection of among the finest buildings from across the state for you to see for yourself.
16) Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Grand Rapids
Named after the nearby Amway Corporation, this Scottish neo-classically designed hotel was originally known as the Pantlind Hotel when it first opened its doors in 1913.
15) Guardian Building, Detroit
This bold example of Art Deco architecture features a lavish mosaic of Pewabic and Rockwood tile. Originally known as the Union Trust building, this structure symbolizes Michigan's historic might in the American economy.
14) Book Tower, Detroit
This 38-story Italian Renaissance-style building took a decade to complete. This towering monument is currently unoccupied.
13) Depot Town in Ypsilanti's Historic District
This is actually a cluster of 19th-century buildings, constructed to complement the railroad line. Now colorfully painted, it sits in Ypsilanti's historic commercial district.
12) Escanaba Michigan, Carnegie Library 1903
This one-story, Classic Revival structure was once home to this city's public library when it opened in 1903.
11) Fisher Building, Detroit
This Albert Kahn-designed Art Deco building was completed in 1929 and constructed using limestone granite and marble. Still used as office and retail space, walking into the halls of this opulent monument is like stepping back in time.
10) Frieze Building, Ann Arbor
This long-demolished building, built in1907, served many functions, including Ann Arbor Public High School and classroom space for the University of Michigan. It was razed in 2007 to make way for student housing.
9) Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island
This hotel, constructed in the 1880s to serve as a resort for workers who used the rail and steam lines between Montreal and Chicago, boasts what is believed to be the longest outdoor porch.
8) Michigan State Capitol
Designed in the Neoclassical, Italianate style, the Michigan State Capitol Building was dedicated in 1879. Interesting fact, Michigan's original state capital was Detroit, but was later relocated to Lansing to develop the western side of the state and to distance itself from British troops stationed in Windsor, Ontario at the time.
7) Meyer May House, Grand Rapids
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, this Prairie-style home was commissioned in 1908 by Meyer May, a local clothier.
6) Michigan Central Station, Detroit
This ghostly, long-vacant depot was once the tallest train station in the world. Signs of possible revitalization, including installation of new windows and an elevator, has Detroiters hopeful that it may one day reopen its doors.
5) Penobscot Building, Detroit
Once the tallest building in Michigan until the completion of the Renaissance Center, the Art Deco Penobscot is a prominent office building in Detroit. Like the nearby Guardian Building, this structure pays homage to Native American culture with motifs inside and out.
4) Point Iroquois Light Station
We would be remiss to not include mention of Michigan's lighthouses. First in operation in 1856, to aid navigation on Lake Superior, other buildings for sleeping quarters and a bell tower (later a fog horn system) were also added to the site.
3) Renaissance Center, Detroit
This complex of tubular skyscrapers, construction began in the early 1970s and completed in 1977. Originally conceived by Henry Ford II, this "city within a city" was created to jump-start Detroit's economy.
2) Southfield Town Center
This complex of five connected skyscrapers in suburban Southfield features a golden glass exterior that make these post-Modern buildings shine.
1) The Acres, Charleston Township 1949 Frank Lloyd Wright
Originally created as a co-op, this is an entire residential subdivision, which includes four Wright-designed homes.
As you can see, many of the influences of our famous structures came from industry titans and our connections to major railway arteries. It makes for a visual spectacle, that’s for sure. What are some of your favorite buildings in Michigan? Tell us in the comments below!