all who wander are not lost

Okay, one more post on the amazing Fisher Building. I spent all day Sunday at a friends house pouring through source data about the building, which leaves me with essential information about the image I showed last week.

To answer Robs question, here is an original drawing of the tri-tower Fisher complex which was halted by the Great Depression.

Here is a schematic of part of the existing facade.

Yeah, we cant talk about all this stuff without showing a photo of the genius behind so much of Detroits architecture. Albert Kahn. Without Mr. Kahn, buildings and structures all over the face of the earth would not be the same. That is NOT an overstatement.

I found this very interesting – the Fisher used to have a full daycare built in, complete with a childs merry go round. This was removed quite a while ago.

Heres the main rotunda area between the arcades before the French Art Deco lighting was installed.

The frescoes were completed in a two month period – originally even more folk period figurative work was to be included, but there was not enough time to render them all. The figures depict muses of music beauty drama, etc. The paintings are comprised of 60% oil paint, and 40% gold leaf. $20,000.00 worth of gold was consumed in the process.

The rotunda is decorated with eagles and cherubs. The decorative motifs of hemlock, oranges and pine cones were taken directly from the Arts and Crafts movement.

The frescoes, many of the sculptures and bronzes. as well as the mosaics were created by Czechoslovakian artist Professor Geza Maroti. Professor Maroti was brought the United States by Eliel Saarinen in 1926, but he had to leave the country by 1929 due to visa problems.

Maroti also designed the National Theater in Mexico, as well as the bronze doors at the entrance of thye Cranbrook Art Gallery.

Here are the “sketches” for the granite bas reief sculptures that adorn the entryway, done by Maroti.

Marotis sketch for the great head that is above the arched doorway.

Sketch for the Assyrian heads that adorn the pillasters on each side of the arched doorway.

Sketches and descriptions for each of the granite sculpted bas reliefs around the doorway.

“GLORY”

“SPEED”

The original floor plan would have taken the entire city block.

On the outside, Corrado Parducci rendered one stage of the granite eagles, after they were designed by Maroti, and made into three dimentional designs by DiLorenzo.

Parducci also rendered the bronze medallion with the depiction of Mercury that is on the floor of the rotunda. Several elevator doors were also done by Parducci, as well as others by Ricci and Maroti.

Ricci rendered the exterior downspout creatures, but they were designed by Parducci.

Below is a list of the exact origin of the 41 varieties of marble used to construct the Fisher Building.

The Fisher has the largest solid marble facade of any office building on earth.

[data courtesy of Fisher Building historical expert Elaine Latzman Moon]

4 Responses to Fisher Building Info

  • DF, thank you! ….Albert Kahn’s work is amazing….. Thanks for all the great detail and as always your great photography….

  • The sketch depicting what would have been, is amazing! Now that woulda been a helluva skyscraping landmark “in” the city and in the midwest region for that matter. I’d been in the Fisher once and was blown away, now i wanna go back just to look again. Thanks dfunk for your work.

  • This series on the Fisher building is insane. Good luck building something that amazing in the modern cheaper is better race to the lowest common denominator world.

  • wow. thats just fucking incredible. and that sketch of the other two towers…is just weird looking, but it wouldve been something to see. i dunno, i think the Fisher Blg turned out just fine the way it is. to add two more towers wouldve taken away from its effect. i like the single-tower idea…i think its singleness is where its strength lies.

    incidentally, i have a list of the 41 types of plywood used in the construction of the lavish Woodbridge Estates condos in Canton. its a marvel of modern engineering ahahahahhahahahahahahahhahaha