The Book Tower on Washington Boulevard has a long and colorful history as one of Detroit’s oldest skyscrapers (and for a short time, the tallest).

The Louis Kamper designed building has a level of adornment on the outside that’s insane.

Now that it’s been cleaned up by Dan Gilbert-owned Bedrock, it’s moved from a dark grey that makes one think of a giant Ghostbusters headquarters to a shiny tower of art.

The building was built in two parts. The lower building was started in 1916 and the tower added in 1926. At the time it was dubbed an “architectural failure,” but in the modern world of all-glass towers it has a unique charm.

Bedrock got their hands on the building in 2015 and have replaced more than 2,400 windows. It had been sitting empty since 2009.

The Book Tower today.

The before and after of this one is one of the most visually clear examples of what happens when a skyscraper gets rehabilitated.

Today comes news that New York-based ODA has been named the design architects, and that the original lobby with a stunningly ornate glass ceiling will be restored.

Rendering courtesy of Bedrock

Having crawled through the old empty floors of the Book, getting this done will be a showstopper for the city. Here is a link to some pictures of that trip.

The 486,760 square-foot structure is intended to have a mix of offices, retail and residential.

Rendering of the Book along Washington Boulevard. Courtesy Bedrock.
Rendering of the future lobby of the Book. Courtesy Bedrock.

Sadly, a set of public tours on Saturday of the current progress of the construction were sold out before we got the press release.

Share this post