Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

As far as I can tell, the Buhl Building seems to be considered one of Detroit’s lesser architectural gems, which is a shame because it’s gorgeous in its own right. Designed by Wirt C. Rowland, it’s located at 535 Griswold St., practically rubbing elbows with the Penobscot Building and the Guardian Building, both also designed by Rowland.

Completed in 1925, the 26-story building is Neo Gothic and Romanesque in design and steel and granite in construction, with the exterior covered in cream-colored terra cotta:

Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

The buildings stands on the site of the Savoyard River, which may account for the blue tile accents:

Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

Roar:

Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

This purple seems a bit incongruous to me. Do you think it’s part of the original design scheme or not?

Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

The Romanesque and Gothic details on the exterior were created by sculptor Corrado Parducci:

Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

The upper floors of the building were designed in the cruciform style to maximize natural light and ventilation, which also gave each floor eight outside corner offices instead of four, allowing for higher rents. Clever!

Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

Across the street is our old friend the Guardian Building, widely considered to be Rowland’s crowning achievement, at least in downtown Detroit:

Buhl Building by Wirt C. Rowland

Born and raised in Clinton, MI and initially a self-taught protege of Albert Kahn, Wirt C. Rowland eventually studied architecture at Harvard, later returning to Detroit to design more than a dozen buildings, shaping that city’s skyline and architectural style.

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