- Cultural Center Historic District (Detroit, Michigan)
Cultural Center Historic DistrictThe main entrance of the Detroit Institute of Arts
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Built: 1915 Architect: Multiple; Gilbert, Cass Architectural style: Beaux Arts, Renaissance, Other Governing body: State NRHP Reference#: 83003791 Added to NRHP: November 21, 1983
The Cultural Center Historic District is a historic district located in Midtown Detroit, Michigan, which includes the Art Center (or Cultural Center): the Detroit Public Library, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Horace H. Rackham Education Memorial Building were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. The first two of these were built in the 1920s, heralding a City Beautiful movement in Detroit that aimed to establish the area along Woodward as the cultural center of the city. The district contains several cultural attractions. At the same time, Wayne State University, then housed in the former Central High School, began offering four-year degrees. These institutions formed a core area that attracted other public-oriented institutions, including several music schools, the Merrill-Palmer Institute, the Detroit Historical Museum, College for Creative Studies, and other institutions to the area. The lifrary and historical museum, although part of the Art Center in function, are located on the west side of Woodward. The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Detroit Science Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit are also located in the Art Center area. Substantial residential areas, including the East Ferry Avenue Historic District and late-19th century homes to the east of the Detroit Institute of Art. These neighborhoods have been infilled with townhomes and other residential developments and revitalizations.
The Public Library was built in 1921, designed by Cass Gilbert in an Italian Renaissance style. The exterior is faced its with white marble and the interior is decorated with murals, tiles and mosaics. Another wing was added in 1963.
The Detroit Institute of Arts was built in 1927. Architect Paul Phillippe Cret designed it to closely resemble its neighbor. Cret created galleries of varying sizes and shapes to provide a proper setting for the art collection. Two wings were later added, one in 1965 and one in 1971, and a large addition opened in 2008.
Horace H. Rackham Education Memorial Building
The Rackham Building was named after Horace Rackham, a local philanthropist and an early investor in Ford Motor Company. The building opened in 1941, serving as the headquarters for the Engineering Society of Detroit and the University of Michigan Extension Service.
It was designed by the firm of Harley and Ellington Architects and Engineers and is faced with white Georgia marble with black granite accents. The windows are cast bronze and the exterior features sculptures by Detroit artist Marshall Fredericks. The structure is 404 ft (123 m) in length and between 65 ft (20 m) and 150 ft (46 m) in depth.
In the central section holds a 1,000 seat auditorium on the main level and a ballroom with a capacity of 700 on the lower level. The University of Michigan occupies the western wing with three classrooms, a lecture hall and studio classroom on the lower level. Offices for the Extension Center and Institute for Public and Social Administration are on the main level along with a lounge, and three classrooms. The second floor contains study rooms, a library and seminar rooms.
The Engineering Society of Detroit occupied the eastern wing until 1994. Its space included six bowling lanes, activities room and billiards room on the lower level, a writing room, dining room, 300-seat auditorium and lounge on the main floor and the Society's administration offices and library on the second floor.
The main auditorium and ballroom are in need of renovation and have not been used in several years. Wayne State University's psychological clinic occupies some of the space vacated by the Engineering Society.
On the wall facing Warren Avenue is a trio of 13 ft (4.0 m) high figures sculpted by Marshall Fredericks representing science, education and mankind. The figures are largely hidden due to the construction of a parking garage south of the building in the 1980s.
- Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
- College for Creative Studies
- David Whitney House
- Detroit Science Center
- Detroit Historical Museum
- East Ferry Avenue Historic District
- Scarab Club
- Wayne State University
- ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreg/docs/All_Data.html.
- ^ Development map from the University Cultural Center Association, retrieved 6/30/09.
- ^ a b c d Cultural Center Historic District from the National Park Service.
- ^ James Hawkins (January 6, 2011). "Iconic Rackham building more than meets the eye". The South End (www.thesouthend.wayne.edu). http://www.thesouthend.wayne.edu/index.php/article/2010/12/iconic_rackham_building_more_than_meets_the_eye. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
References and further reading
- 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.
City of Detroit Metro Detroit · Michigan · United States Architecture of metropolitan Detroit Skyscrapers10 tallest
to 73 stories20 tallest30 tallest40 tallest50 - 195 tallest60 - 195 tallest70 - 195 tallestNew Center
to 30 storiesEast side
to 29 storiesSuburban
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under 10 stories
Parks and gardens Museums and librariesDetroit Institute of Arts · Detroit Public Library · Museum of African American History · Science Center · Historical Museum · Cranbrook · The Henry Ford · Meadowbrook Hall · Fair Lane · Edsel and Eleanor Ford House · Pewabic Pottery · Southfield Public Library · University of Michigan Museum of Art Religious landmarksReligious landmarks Performance centers Neighborhood
Arden Park-East Boston · Atkinson Avenue · Beverly Road · Boston-Edison · Brush Park · Canton Township MPS · Corktown · East Ferry · East Grand Boulevard · East Jefferson Avenue · Grosse Pointe · Highland Heights-Stevens' Sub. · Indian Village · Layafette Park · Northville · Palmer Park Apartments · Palmer Woods · Park Avenue · Rosedale Gardens · Rosedale Park · Sherwood Forest · Virginia Park · Warren-Prentis · West Canfield · West Village · Willis-Seldon · Woodbridge · Woodward East · (See also: Historic homes)Mixed-use
Adams Street · Broadway Ave. · Capitol Park · Cass Park · Cass-Davenport · Congress Street · Cultural Center · Eastern Market · Eastside Cemetery · Financial District · Grand Boulevard · Grand Circus · Grand River Avenue · Gratiot Avenue · Griswold Street · Greektown · West Jefferson Avenue · Jefferson Chalmers · Larned Street · Michigan Avenue · Monroe Avenue · New Amsterdam · New Center · Piquette Ave · Randolph Street · Shelby Street · State Street · Sugar Hill · University-Cultural Center · Washington Boulevard · Wayne State University · West Vernor-Junction · West Vernor-Lawndale · West Vernor-Springwells · Lower Woodward · Midtown Woodward · Woodward Avenue
See also: List of tallest buildings in Detroit National Register of Historic Places in Wayne County, Michigan Historic districts
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