Downtown Detroit skycrapers at the corner of Congress and Griswold - Pure Detroit Skyscraper Tour
May 15, 2024

The Pure Detroit Skyscraper Tour

Downtown Detroit skycrapers at the corner of Congress and Griswold - Pure Detroit Skyscraper Tour

 - The iconic corner of Congress and Griswold Streets in downtown Detroit

The Pure Detroit Skyscraper Tour 

 By Pure Detroit

Embark on a captivating journey through Detroit's architectural marvels with the Pure Detroit Skyscraper Tour, starting at the historic Point of Origin in Campus Martius, the very heart of downtown Detroit. This walking tour offers a unique opportunity to delve into the city's rich history and iconic structures, guided by a knowledgeable and passionate Pure Detroit tour guide. As you gather at the Point of Origin, the guide sets the stage with fascinating tales of Detroit's past, laying the groundwork for the architectural wonders that await. Campus Martius itself is a notable landmark, often considered the city's birthplace, making it a fitting starting point for a tour that celebrates Detroit's architectural heritage. 

The Buhl Building 

One of the first highlights on the tour is the Buhl Building, an exquisite example of Art Deco design. Completed in 1925, this 26-story skyscraper was designed by Wirt C. Rowland and stands as a testament to Detroit's economic boom in the early 20th century. The guide will lead you through the intricacies of its design, pointing out the ornate details and the building's significance in Detroit's architectural landscape. You'll learn about the building's role in the city's commercial history and its enduring legacy. The Buhl Building's facade, with its intricate terracotta details and elegant proportions, is a prime example of the craftsmanship and artistry that characterized the period.

Detroit skyline including the Penobscot Building, Buhl Building and Guardian Building - Pure Detroit Skyscraper Tour

- Some of the architectural gems of downtown Detroit

The Guardian Building

Next, the tour moves on to the Guardian Building, often referred to as Detroit's Cathedral of Finance. This National Historic Landmark, completed in 1929, is a stunning example of Art Deco architecture infused with Native American motifs. As you step inside, the guide will highlight the building's breathtaking lobby, adorned with intricate tile work, stunning murals, and vibrant colors that reflect the era's opulence and optimism. The Guardian Building is not only an architectural gem but also a symbol of Detroit's resilience and ambition. The tour guide will share stories of the building's construction, its innovative use of materials, and its role in the financial history of the city.

The Penobscot Building

The final major highlight of the tour is the Penobscot Building, a towering presence in Detroit's skyline since 1928. This 47-story skyscraper, also designed by Wirt C. Rowland of Smith, Hinchman & Grylls, showcases a blend of Art Deco and Neo-Gothic elements. As you gaze up at its impressive facade, the guide will share stories of the building's construction, its historical significance, and its role in shaping the city's architectural identity. The Penobscot Building was once the eighth tallest building in the world and remains a prominent fixture in Detroit's skyline, symbolizing the city's industrial prowess and architectural ambition.

Plus More

In addition to these iconic structures, the tour includes glimpses of other nearby skyscrapers, each with its own unique story and architectural style. Buildings such as the David Stott Building, with its sleek Art Deco design, and the One Woodward Avenue building, a modernist masterpiece by Minoru Yamasaki, provide a comprehensive look at Detroit's dynamic and evolving skyline. The tour guide will provide insights into the architectural trends and historical contexts that influenced these buildings, offering a deeper understanding of how Detroit's skyline came to be.

Downtown Detroit skyscrapers including the Guardian Building, the Buhl Bulding and the Ford Building - Pure Detroit Skyscraper Tour

- The Guardian Building, Buhl Building and Ford Building standing tall in Detroit

The tour also delves into the cultural impact of Detroit's skyscrapers, exploring how these buildings have shaped the city's identity and community. The guide will discuss how the architecture reflects the city's industrial heritage, economic fluctuations, and aspirations for the future. You'll hear stories of the people who worked in these buildings, the businesses that thrived within their walls, and the role these structures played in the social and cultural life of Detroit. This exploration of cultural impact adds a rich layer to the architectural narrative, highlighting the human stories behind the brick and mortar.

As you stroll through the streets of downtown Detroit, the guide will point out architectural details that might otherwise go unnoticed. From the decorative spandrels and cornices to the innovative use of materials and structural techniques, each building has its own set of unique features that contribute to its overall aesthetic and historical significance. The tour provides a comprehensive look at the craftsmanship and creativity that went into designing and constructing these skyscrapers, offering a deeper appreciation for their architectural beauty.

The Pure Detroit skyscraper tour is more than just a walk through the city; it's an immersive experience that connects participants with Detroit's rich architectural heritage. By the end of the tour, you'll have a greater understanding of the architectural styles that define the city, the historical events that shaped its skyline, and the cultural significance of its iconic buildings. Whether you're born in Detroit, a local resident or a visitor, this tour offers a unique perspective on Detroit, celebrating its past, present, and future through the lens of its architectural treasures.

Sign up for the Pure Detroit Skyscraper Tour on Eventbrite here.