Architecture

Detroit’s Michigan Theatre named one country’s coolest parking structures

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Detroiters have always known about the Michigan Theater and its unique parking deck. Now national publications are also gaining ground.

In a list compiled by architecture magazine Architizer and Looking4.com, the Michigan Theater was recognized as one of “10 Amazing Park Structures in the US”. The post asks readers to vote with a winner, which will be announced later this summer.

Here’s what the article says about the former theater.

The Detroit Theater in Michigan was once a 4,000-seat concert hall and movie house – the site of black tie events for the world’s most famous musicians – and is now primarily used as a parking garage. The distinctive Renaissance Revival building was built in 1926 and was known for its decadence adorned with 10-foot crystal chandeliers.

In 1977 it was gutted to make room for a 160-digit parking deck to service the staff of the adjacent Michigan building, which would have created structural complications if the theater had been demolished.

Other structures in Miami, Kansas City and Chicago are on the list. The Michigan Theater, however, is the only building on the list that has been converted into a park structure – the other nine were all built for parking.

Historic Detroit notes another interesting fact about the deck.

“In a twist that is as sad as it is ironic, the theater was built on the site of the small garage where Henry Ford built his first car, the four-wheeler. (The garage was dismantled by Henry Ford and moved to his museum in Dearborn, Michigan.)

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Dusty Kennedy