1001 Woodward

1001 Woodward
  1. About the 1001 Woodward in Detroit
    1. Building Catalogations
  2. Architect and team
  3. Architectural style
  4. Spaces and uses
  5. Structure and materials

The 1001 Woodward is an International Style skyscraper designed by Smith, Hinchman & Grylls and built between 1963 and 1965 in Detroit, MI.

1001 Woodward is not the only name you might know this building by though. It is common for companies to want to attach their names to iconic buildings when they move in, or for the general public to come up with nicknames, and this one is no exception. The building has changed names several times over the years, and is also known as:

  • First Federal Building between 1965 and 1998.
  • Woodward Plaza between 1998 and 2013.

Its precise street address is 1001 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI. You can also find it on the map here.

The 1001 Woodward is a structure of significant importance both for the city of Detroit and the United States as a nation. The building embodies the distinctive characteristic features of the time in which it was built and the International Style style. Because of that, the 1001 Woodward was officially included in the National Register of Historic Places on November 12th 2013.

The building is made up by two towers arranged perpendicular to one another. The two towers are connected by the core of elevators and stairs. The building's right-angle arrangement allows it to make better use of the irregularly shaped lot.

The upper floors house mechanical equipment..

The building underwent a major restoration in 2016. The architect commissioned to undertake this restoration was Smith Group JJR.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
First Federal Building
Woodward Plaza
Added to the NRHP
years ago
  1. 2016 - The pavement materials of the square were replaced to eliminate leaks into the building's basement. The square was transformed into a modern urban space, and the building entrance was modernized.. The architect in charge was Smith Group JJR.

Architect and team

Smith, Hinchman & Grylls was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

The firm was founded in 1853 and under their new name “SMITHGROUP” is the oldest architecture and engineering firm still operating in the US.

During its early days, it played a significant role in shaping the architectural landscape of the city of Detroit, and theirs are some of the city’s most iconic buildings, many of their buildings have been designated as historic landmarks, becoming part of the city’s identity.

Their initial work took inspiration from the Beaux-Arts and other revival movements, however, they were quick to evolve into Art-deco and modernism when those movements were still young, and later on into sustainable design and new technological advances.

Over more than a century of activity, their designs aren’t limited to Detroit anymore, and you can find their buildings all over the country.

Smith Hinchman Grylls

Architectural Style

The 1001 Woodward can be categorized as an International Style building.

The international style originated in Europe in the early 20th century, and made its way to the US a couple of decades later when the rise of the Nazi regime forced figures such as Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, or Mies van der Rohe to flee Europe.

The International Style emerged as a response to the prevailing historicism and ornate architecture styles of the late 19th century, which according to a younger generation of architects didn't represent the new materials and construction techniques that were on the rise at the time.

Architecture in the early 20th century US was marked by the adoption of steel structures, modern construction techniques, and the rise of the skyscraper. As it turns out, this combination of circumstances created the perfect ecosystem for the International Style to flourish, becoming the to-go style for skyscraper designs during the mid-20th century, when American cities were growing fast.

The International Style’s legacy can not only be found in numerous iconic buildings across all major American cities, but also incorporated in contemporary architecture, which still puts a big emphasis on functionality and minimalism.

The 1001 Woodward was completed in 1965. By 1965 the International Style movement had already left its early days behind and could be considered a mature movement, which does not mean it was loved and accepted by everyone, on the contrary. The International Style was accepted by the architecture community way before it was by the general public, and it is therefore likely that the 1001 Woodward was not well received by everyone at the time.

Spaces & Uses

The 1001 Woodward reaches an architectural height of 338ft (103m). It has a total of 25 floors, 23 above ground and 2 basements.

The building sits on a 22,206 sqf (2,063m2) piece of land , and offers a total of 320,000 sqf (29,729m2) of usable space.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1965, the 1001 Woodward has mainly been used as Commercial space.

338ft (103m)
2 basements

Materials & Structure

The 1001 Woodward uses a frame structure made of steel columns and concrete slabs.

A frame structure uses a combination of beams and columns to sustain the building's weight. The walls in this case are non-load bearing, which allows for more flexibility when distributing the interior spaces.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features tinted glass with dark gray granite frames projected in a grid pattern similar to the 211 West Fort Street Building.

Another material found at the 1001 Woodward is white marble, used in interior walls and floors of the two-story hall .


  • www.showcase.com
  • npgallery.nps.gov