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Detroit Downtown Architecture Ranked In Country’s Top 10

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(credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

(credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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By Christy Strawser
CBS Detroit Managing Editor
The website TopTenz.com reiterated Wednesday what many fans of urban architecture already know: downtown Detroit has some spectacular buildings.

In a ranking of the top 10 downtowns in the country, the site placed Detroit at No. 9, largely on the strength of its pre-World War II buildings. The list is rounded out by Milwaukee, Seattle,  Boston, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and New York City.

“Detroit’s downtown is one of the most architecturally impressive in the country, largely because the city began to decline before others began urban renewal efforts,” the website says. “These efforts would ultimately scar the cores of those cities. Detroit’s downtown, then, is a remarkable architectural testament to pre-World War II styles of construction.

“It also remains a center of employment in the greater metro areas, and it has revitalized in recent years with the addition of restaurants and sports facilities.  And you can’t forget the legendary automobile manufacturing meccas of Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler.”

The elaborate Albert Kahn-designed Argonaut Building, for instance, was constructed by General Motors starting in 1928 to house its design services. It was transformed in 2009 into the impressive 11-story, 760,000 square foot second campus for the College for Creative Studies in the New Center area.

Other Kahn buildings in Detroit, including the old Packard plant and Train Depot, have fallen into disrepair. But many remarkable buildings remain, including the Fisher, which was built in marble and had a tower originally covered in gilt.

Check out our list of the best buildings in Detroit and let us know: Which one is your favorite? Fisher, Penobscot, Guardian, Renaissance Center, the old Train Depot — or something else?

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