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For the downtown Detroit, Michigan office tower, see Cadillac Tower.
For the office tower in New York City, see General Motors Building (New York).
Cadillac Place
General Motors building 089833pv.jpg
Former names General Motors Building
General information
Status Complete
Type Government offices
Architectural style Neo-classical
Location 3044 West Grand Boulevard
Detroit, Michigan
Coordinates 42°22′07″N 83°04′32″W / 42.3686°N 83.0756°W / 42.3686; -83.0756Coordinates: 42°22′07″N 83°04′32″W / 42.3686°N 83.0756°W / 42.3686; -83.0756
Construction started 1919
Completed 1923
Renovated 2002
Height
Roof 67.1 m (220.1 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 15
Floor area 402,700 m2 (4,334,630 sq ft)
Lifts/elevators 31
Design and construction
Architect Albert Kahn
Main contractor Thompson-Starrett Co.
General Motors Building
Area 3.7 acres (1.5 ha)
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 78001520
Significant dates
Added to NRHP June 2, 1978
Designated NHL June 2, 1978
References
[1][2][3][4][5]

Cadillac Place is a landmark high-rise office complex located at 3044 West Grand Boulevard in the New Center area of Detroit, Michigan. The ornate class-A office building was constructed of steel, limestone, granite, and marble between 1919 and 1923 and listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1985.[4][5] The building houses several Government of Michigan agencies under a 20-year lease agreement approved in 1998. At the end of the lease, the State has the option to purchase the structure for $1.[6] The 2002 renovation to house State offices was one of the nation's largest historic renovation projects. Upon completion it was renamed Cadillac Place as a tribute to Detroit's founder, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac. Cadillac Place currently houses over 2,000 State employees including the Michigan Court of Appeals for District I. The building's former executive office suite serves as the Detroit office for Michigan's governor and attorney general, and several Justices of the Michigan Supreme Court have offices in the building.

History[edit]

After much pressure by the General Motors Board of Directors, William C. Durant agreed in 1919 to construct a permanent headquarters in Detroit for the company he formed in 1908. The corporation purchased the block between Cass and Second on West Grand Boulevard and removed the 48 structures from the site to begin work.

Groundbreaking was held June 2, 1919 and the Cass Avenue wing was ready for occupancy in November 1920 while the remainder of the building was under construction. The building was originally named for Durant, but an internal power struggle led to his ouster in 1921 and the structure was renamed the General Motors Building. However, the initial “D” had already been carved above the main entrance and in several other places on the building where they remain today.[7]

The structure served as General Motors world headquarters from 1923 until 2001 when it moved the last of its employees to the Renaissance Center on the Detroit River.[8] In 1999, General Motors transferred the property to New Center Development, Inc., a non-profit venture controlled by TrizecHahn Office Properties which acted as developer and began renovation on the upper floors which GM vacated in 2000.[9] The Annex was constructed shortly after the main building, and in the 1940s, it was connected to the adjacent Argonaut Building with a pedestrian bridge on the fourth floor. A parking structure was constructed to the east across Cass Avenue and also connected with a pedestrian bridge. A third bridge was constructed across Grand Boulevard in the early 1980s, to connect the building with New Center One and the St. Regis Hotel.

Architecture[edit]

Cadillac Place rises 15 stories to a total height of 220 feet (67 m), with the top floor at 187 ft (57 m). The building has 31 elevators. It was originally constructed with 1,200,000 sq ft (110,000 m2) and expanded to 1,395,000 sq ft (130,000 m2). Designated a National Historic Landmark on June 2, 1978, it is an exquisite example of Neo-Classical architecture.

Designed by noted architect Albert Kahn, the structure consists of a two-story base with four parallel 15-story wings connecting to a central perpendicular backbone. Kahn used this design to allow sunlight and natural ventilation to reach each of the building's hundreds of individual offices. The entire building is faced in limestone and is crowned with a two-story Corinthian colonnade. In 1923, it opened as the second largest office building in the world (behind the Equitable Building in New York City).[10]

The base of the building is surrounded by an arched colonnade supported by Ionic columns. The interior features a vaulted arcade with tavernelle, an Italian marble, covering the walls. The arcade was originally lined by stores and an auditorium which could be used for corporate functions or by community groups. The auditorium space was later converted into an auto showroom. On the lower level were two swimming pools; one was converted into a cafeteria. Tile with a water theme gives a hint to the original use of the cafeteria space. A depressed driveway extending between Cass and Second divides the lower level of the main building from the lower level of the Annex.[7][11] When the Fisher Building was constructed across Grand Boulevard in 1927, the two were connected with an underground pedestrian tunnel that also connects north to the New Center Building allowing workers and visitors to transverse all three buildings without venturing into the elements.

The entrance is set into a loggia behind three arches of the Grand Boulevard facade. It intersects the arcade to form a large elevator lobby with a coffered ceiling. Floors on the ground level are gray Tennessee marble. On the upper stories, floors are also gray Tennessee marble while corridor walls remain their original with white Alabama marble.[7]

To the south of the main building is the five-story Annex which served as the original home of General Motors Laboratories. In 1930, the laboratories moved across Milwaukee Avenue to the Argonaut Building and for many years after the Annex housed the Chevrolet Central Office. In 2009 when the Argonaut Building was sold, a fourth-floor pedestrian bridge connecting the two was removed and the Annex facade restored.[12]

Between 2000 and 2002, the building was thoroughly renovated to house the State of Michigan offices. Architect Eric J. Hill participated in the redevelopment which was headed by Albert Kahn and Associates, the original architects. In addition to upgrading existing systems, reconfiguring some spaces and redecorating, the project installed central air conditioning. When the building was first occupied, it was cooled in the warmer months by opening windows. Later, General Motors installed window units to cool various offices and work areas. During the renovation, large-scale systems replaced almost 1,900 window units that were left when GM vacated the structure.[13]

Photo gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cadillac Place at Emporis
  2. ^ Cadillac Place at SkyscraperPage
  3. ^ Cadillac Place at Structurae
  4. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  5. ^ a b "General Motors Building". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved June 27, 2008. 
  6. ^ ">Amy Lane and Robert Ankeny (November 30, 1998). "State Might Use All of GM Building". Crain's Detroit Business (Crains Detroit). Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  7. ^ a b c "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form". National Park Service. March 1977. Retrieved January 7, 2011. 
  8. ^ Robert Ankeny (December 6, 1999). "Former GM Building to Start Transformation in 2000". Crain's Detroit Business (CrainsDetroit.com). Retrieved 2011-02-04. 
  9. ^ Robert Ankeny (April 19, 1999). "GM Building Ownership Transferred". Crain's Detroit Business (CrainsDetroit.com). 
  10. ^ Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3. 
  11. ^ "General Motors Building (Cadillac Place)". Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Retrieved January 7, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Projects-Cadillac Place Annex South Facade Repair". Wiss, Janey, Elstner Associates, Inc. 2009. Retrieved January 7, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Cadillac Palace". Trane. October 2002. Retrieved January 7, 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Fogelman, Randall (2004). Detroit's New Center. Arcadia. ISBN 0-7385-3271-1. 
  • Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3. 
  • Meyer, Katherine Mattingly and Martin C.P. McElroy with Introduction by W. Hawkins Ferry, Hon A.I.A. (1980). Detroit Architecture A.I.A. Guide Revised Edition. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1651-4. 
  • Sharoff, Robert (2005). American City: Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3270-6. 


External links[edit]


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