Detroit Architecture


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Detroit’s public buildings – it’s museums, libraries, schools and monuments – are second to none in terms of their overall scale, materials and detailing. Hotels, stores, theaters and other commercial venues display a breezy cosmopolitanism consistent with the city’s position as both a technology hub and a crossroads of immigration. American City: Detroit Architecture depicts 50 structures by such internationally recognized figures as Daniel Burnham, Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe and Isamu Noguchi.

Detroit Architecture cover

“Detroit’s builders gave the city a legacy of great architecture, but decades of neglect have put much of that legacy at risk. It is my hope that Zbaren’s breathtaking photos and Sharoff’s superb documentation will move people to protect the history of this remarkable city.” – Richard Moe, former president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

“Detroit has a wealth of architecture treasures hidden in its everyday fabric. American City: Detroit Architecture, 1845–2005 brings them to light for our pleasure.” – Cesar Pelli, architect and educator


“A major addition to the record of architectural history in the United States, American City is an elegant and persuasive reminder that a city noted principally for its role in the development of the automobile has been the site of a multitude of first-class buildings as well.” – Franz Schulze, Hollender Professor of Art, emeritus, Lake Forest College, author of Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography and Philip Johnson: Life and Work


“The product of monumental wealth and artistic accomplishment, Detroit’s architectural heritage is handsomely recorded in this book about an American city’s promise.” – Hugh Hardy, FAIA, founder of H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture


American City is a visual tribute to the best of Detroit’s architectural gems. Sometimes it takes outsiders like Sharoff and Zbaren to see the glory where Detroiters themselves see only decline.” – John Gallagher, architecture critic, Detroit Free Press, and co-author of AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture (Wayne State University Press, 2002)