The modernist architecture of Detroit is plotted in a brilliant new map
Driven by financial power, General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler – the largest US automakers known as the Big Three – flourished for Detroit in the 20th century. Some of the most influential architects in the world have shaped the city engine.
Buildings like the Ford Highland Park Plant and the Packard Plant set the wheels in motion around the turn of the century, both built by local Albert Kahn Associates. The latter were the first to use reinforced concrete in the U.S. for industrial construction in the U.S. automotive industry and was considered the most advanced automobile factory in the world when it opened in 1903.
The Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, together with his immigrant father Eliel, led a modernist movement in the European style shortly after the end of World War II. In the 1960s and 1970s, he worked with architects like Minoru Yamasaki to build the General Motors Technical Center in Warren to change the landscape of Detroit architecture. He experimented with materials and ornamentation techniques that would characterize the city’s pioneering aesthetic at the time. However, with the Big Three running out of gas, economic decline would result in many of these structures being abandoned, which has become a magnet for graffiti artists and urban explorers. Despite years of neglect, your reinforced concrete constructions retain a structurally perfect composition.
However, many of Detroit’s architectural gems are still proud of, and the iconic city is experiencing a new lease on life. For those who come here to witness the gear shift, Blue Crow Media’s latest architectural map, Modernist Detroit Map, shows a selection of these buildings. The two-page guide and map take architecture fans on a road trip through over 50 buildings by some of the most influential architects of the 20th century.
An introduction by architectural historian and critic Michael Abrahamson and photographs by Jason Woods make the Modernist Detroit Map another must-have for the publisher, and are available in independent bookstores worldwide or from Blue Crow Media’s online store for £ 8.