Detroit Free Press Building

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

The Detroit Free Press Building is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by Albert Kahn Associates and built between 1924 and 1925, for a reported $6.00 million dollars, in Detroit, MI.

Detroit Free Press Building is not the only name you might know this building by though. Between 2020 and 0 it was also known as The Press/321.

Its precise street address is 321 W. Lafayette Boulevard, Detroit, MI. You can also find it on the map here.

The building underwent a major restoration between 2016 and 2020. The architect commissioned to undertake this restoration was Kraemer Design Group.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
Construction completed
years ago
  1. 2016 to 2020 - The building was converted from commercial to residential. The architect in charge was Kraemer Design Group.

Architect and team

Albert Kahn Associates was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

Albert Kahn Associates was in charge of the architectural design, however, architecture is a complex discipline involving many professionals from different fields, without whom this building would have not been possible. We will surely be leaving out a lot of names here, but here is a list of the people we do know also played their part in making the Detroit Free Press Building a reality:

  • Spencer, White & Prentice as the Main Contractor
  • Ulysses A. Ricci as the collaborating Artist

Architectural Style

The Detroit Free Press Building can be categorized as an Art-deco building.

The Art Deco movement flourished during the 1920s and 1930s, with many historians marking the outbreak of World War II as its final decline. Even though a couple of decades might not seem as much, the Art Deco movement had a great impact on architecture, and it's widely represented in many American cities due to the development boom that happened during that time.

Art Deco marked the abandonment of traditional historicism and the embracement of modern living and the age of the machine. In architecture, that meant leaving behind the ornaments of Beux-Arts and Neo-Gothic buildings and instead favoring simplicity and visual impact through geometric shapes, clean lines, and symmetrical designs. Ornaments were still an important part of the design, but they became bold and lavish, and were often inspired by ancient cultures or industrial imagery, instead of nature.

The Detroit Free Press Building was completed in 1925, right when the Art Deco movement was at its peak, so it kind of went with the trend at that time.

Spaces & Uses

The Detroit Free Press Building reaches an architectural height of 190ft (58m). It has a total of 16 floors, 14 above ground and 2 basements, served by 8 elevators, which combined offer a total of 288,516 sqf (26,804m2) of usable space.

In regards to parking space, the building has a total of 105 spots available, which roughly equals 8 spots per floor (above ground), or one parking spot per every 2,745 sqf (255m2) of usable space.

When it opened its doors to the public in 1925, the Detroit Free Press Building was primarily used as Commercial space. That however, is no longer the case, and today it mainly provides Residential space, with other complementary uses such as commercial space.

About the residences

The Detroit Free Press Building has a total of 105 residential units throughout its 14 floors.

190ft (58m)
2 basements

Materials & Structure

The Detroit Free Press Building 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.

The facade is non-load bearing either, as it is common in frame structure type buildings.

From an aesthetic point of view, the facade features Indiana limestone for the most part. The arched front entrance is adorned with relief figures around it.

Other materials found at the Detroit Free Press Building include, marble, found on the lobby's walls, cast iron, used around elevators and storefronts in the lobby, and wood, found in in friezes that are displayed on the walls along the corridors.