Photos inside the Book Tower building downtown ahead of renovations by Bedrock Detroit


The ornate book tower, designed by renowned architect Louis Kamper, is an impressive work of Italian Renaissance architecture. The decorations – especially the columns, flowers, and figures – on the outside of the 38-story building have been admired since it opened in 1926.

Anyone can see these details (although you may need binoculars to really appreciate them). Few have seen the interior of the building since the last commercial tenant in 2009.

As part of the Detroit Month of Design, Bedrock Detroit offered a rare glimpse of the Book Tower and the building and conducted a tour with more than 100 guests on Saturday, September 7th.

Bedrock bought the building in 2015 and has since secured and tidied it up. Earlier this month, she announced ODA as the head of architecture for the redevelopment and released some preliminary draft plans. It is expected to cost $ 313 million and be completed in 2022.

Tour participants were shown the first floors, which become a large lobby with the skylight reappearing. the 13th floor, which is being converted into residential units; and the 32nd floor, which will most likely be a hotel.

Check out some amazing photos from the tour.

Entrance from Washington Boulevard to the Book Building.

An open door and a staircase.  The ceiling has ornate design and lights.  There is graffiti on a door that says “Exit No Enter”.

The stairs to the 2nd floor.

Marble columns positioned in an open space.  In addition to ornate yellow and red panels on the ceiling are exposed steel beams.

A look at the 2nd floor.

A chandelier hangs from a rectangular ceiling panel with concentric frames of gold, green, and red. In the center there are a number of white figures.

Impressive details in a ceiling tile.

Ornate orange, green, and red ceiling panels.  The paint on the panels has broken off and has deteriorated.

Much work will be required to restore the decorative details of the book tower.

The door frames two adjacent elevators.  Flower patterns are painted on the door frames.

Decorative “elevators” on the 2nd floor. There is only one hallway behind them.

A large open space with exposed concrete and beams.  One wall has exposed red brick.  There are orange cones on the floor in various places.

A view from another side of the 2nd floor.

A ceiling panel with two naked figures, a man and a woman, reaching for a vase of flowers.  There are flower frames around the picture.

A close-up of some of the painted figures.

A large room with marble columns and an exposed beamed ceiling.  There are a series of four elevators and a revolving door entrance.

Real elevators and the front entrance.

A large, open space.  Steel beams evenly distributed over a concrete floor with lots of exposed bricks.

The 32nd floor of the book tower.

An aerial view of downtown Detroit.  There are many tall buildings and trees.

View from the 32nd floor.

A limestone column with florets and scrolls.  There is a copper cladding next to it.

Details of a Corinthian column near the top of the book tower.

1260 W. Washington Blvd., Detroit, Michigan 48226


Dusty Kennedy