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Iconic Detroit Building of the Week: Cadillac Place Building

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Photos via <a href=""> Nomad Willie, </a><a href=""> Detroit 1701 and </a><a href="
Photos via Nomad Willie, Detroit 1701 and

Building: Cadillac Place Building
Facts: Built for General Motors during its ascendancy, the three-tower set of neoclassical skyscrapers was commissioned by the company's founder, William Durant in 1919. Originally called the General Motors Building, the towers contain over 1800 offices.

The complex consists of a central block with four wings projecting from the front and and the rear, a design choice intended to let as much natural light fresh air into the spaces. The massive campus also includes a five-story annex, an auditorium, exposition halls, auto display areas, shops, a gym, a cafeteria and 31 elevators. The building took nearly four years to complete. One tower opened in 1920, and the rest of the building was fully operational in 1923.
Materials: The building has limestone facing and a steel-framed structure. The interior features a vaulted arcade with tavernelle. Italian marble covers its walls. The floors on the first floor are made of gray Tennessee marble. The walls in the upper stories have white Alabama marble tile.
Specs: Cadillac Place is 220 feet tall and has a staggering 1,395,000 square feet of space. When it opened fully in 1923, the structure, then known as the General Motors Building, was the world's second largest office building (the largest was NYC's Equitable Building).

Architect: Albert Kahn accepted the commission, then his largest ever, in 1919. A lion of American architecture, Kahn designed many of the beautiful structures most associated with Detroit including two of Belle Isle's central structures, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, and the Belle Isle Aquarium. His commercial work included the Fisher Building, Grinnell Brothers Music House, the Security Trust Building, the Downtown YWCA, First National Bank Building and Fisher Body Plant 21. Kahn also designed houses all over metro Detroit and parts of the Detroit Zoo and Cranbrook.
Artist: The sculptural work included many elaborately carved friezes, classical statues and the building's centerpiece clock were made by Ulysses Ricci, a prolific antics whose carvings and statues can be found on many other iconic Detroit buildings of the 1920s including the Detroit Free Press Building, the Fisher Building and at the University of Michigan's Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library and Angell Hall.
Recent events: GM left the building for good in 2002, relocating to the Renaissance Center. Today, the building, renamed Cadillac Place, serves as office space for State of Michigan entities, including the Court of Appeals.

This week, our featured building was suggested by Curbed reader Lela Wadlin. We want to thank our readers for all of their great ideas, and encourage you to send more suggestions for the series to

·Cadillac Place [Emporis]
·Albert Kahn [Historic Detroit]
·Diggin' Detroit [Nomad Willie]
·Ulysses Anthony Ricci [National Academy]