Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989, the Guardian Building was designed by Wirt C. Rowland of the leading Detroit architecture firm Smith, Hinchman & Grylls.
Termed a "cathedral of commerce" and "one of the most exuberant Art Deco skyscrapers built in America," the Guardian Building was built for what was at the time Detroit's leading financial institution.
The cathedral theme is emphasized on the exterior by the two towers at each end of the building connected by a somewhat lower navelike block. The theme is played out in the interior with the tall banking lobby designed as a nave with side aisles.
A specially formulated orange brick, known as Guardian brick, clads the steel frame. Brilliantly colored terra-cotta, glazed tile, and gold-stained glass and metal decorate it inside and out.
The Guardian Building was the world's tallest masonry structure when it was completed.
This Art Deco piece is marked by American Indian and Aztec motifs.
The south tower roof lies at 423'-10" above street level, plus 9'-8" to the structural top.
The main roof at the 36th floors lies 396'-10" above street level, plus 4'-4.25" to the parapet wall.
The north tower roof lies 482'-0" above street level, plus 13'-6" to the structural top.
The flagpole rises 150'-0" from the north tower roof, making the tip height 632'-0".
On the 32nd floor lies the Guardian Club Banquet Hall/Auditorium, which serves as a small conference center for up to 300 people.
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