DETROIT | Penobscot Building | 664 FT Spire | 1928
Classic Art Deco.
Seen from above, it is built in the shape of an H, typical of high rise buildings of its time. It is easily identifiable with it's many setbacks leading up to a spire. It was the tallest building in all of Michigan until the Ren Cen was completed in 1977. (I'll probably add more history about it later, im lazy atm).
The spire is capped with a large red aviation orb that has recently been turned back on after 5 years of nights gone unlit. As if a metaphor for the spirit of the city it's in.
Today, it still stands as an iconic example of Art Deco high rises like the Empire State Building of the Midwest (at least I think so). I personally like it from a distance because it makes that perfect cone silhouette.
The Penobscot Building was designed by local architect Wirt C. Rowland who also designed the nearby Buhl and Guardian Buildings. Like the Guardian, the Penobscot features Native American motifs although these details are dwarfed by the size of the building.
On SSC someone commented that the Penobscot Building was "a poor man's ESB", but that person did not realize that the Penobscot was completed 3 years before the Empire State Building. Its "modern" shape may have even influenced the design of the ESB.
I like this building enough to build a 11 foot high LEGO model.
My Detroit and Lego architecture photos: flickr/decojim/
__________________ There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know. -Donald Rumsfeld Didn't you notice on the plane when you started talking, eventually I started reading the vomit bag?
Thank you to everyone who shared those amazing photographs! The Penobscot Building has always been my favorite Detroit skyscraper. Hopefully, this building will be preserved for decades to come. We must never lose this building and if we do, it would be one of the city's greatest architectural losses IMO. There's too many to count, sadly, but man what the city would be like if the Hammond, Old City Hall, Majestic, Hudson's, and Train Depot were still around.