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Edifice Complex: 1901

Edifice Complex: 1901

Detroit, Michigan, circa 1901. "Wayne County Building." This multi-layered municipal confection, completed in 1902, still stands as a monument to the wedding-cake school of architecture. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Photographic Co. View full size.


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Stones are heavy

The ground level walls are quite thick compared to the second floor walls, and they're both thicker than the upper levels. These buildings have stood for over a hundred years. Change the structural design at your peril.

I have a courthouse/spaceship problem

We have a lot of old courthouses in Iowa that look very similar. I have always found them impressive for their over-the-top attempt at the ornate. Between our state capital in Des Moines and all of these courthouses, my mind goes straight to science fiction.

I envision these massive buildings rocketing out of their squares and into space with the main spires being where the cockpit is housed with lasers and other sci-fi weaponry coming out of the quadrant spires. If I had any artistic ability outside of my daydreaming I would draw it out for you, but that is what I see.

Consider this my confession.

Enough architecture for three buildings

Coco Chanel said, "“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off: better to be underdressed.” That rule might have helped this building.

Tough Crowd

I visited Detroit about 40 years ago. This building and Tiger Stadium are about the only things I remember. I was impressed by both. But I'm no architect (or architectural critic, obviously!)

Born in the USA

My father's birth certificate resides in that building.

If only they had asked me

Multi-layered indeed. The banded base should have stopped at the ground level. The layer above it with the portico wouldn't look so squished if that layer extended down to the top of the stairs.

The building now has some statues on the roof and tower, nice patina. It helps tie the building and tower together.

Responding to mrwowiezowie - you must be a big fan of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" where Dr. Frank-N-Furter's castle does in fact become a space ship. My only response to that is: Let's do The Time Warp Again!

Sigmund Freud

Is spinning in his grave.

Work in Progress

It looks like they started with a birdbath, then jacked it up and started building the bits under it.

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