Lee Plaza Building

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

The Lee Plaza Building is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by Charles Noble and built between 1927 and 1929 in Detroit, MI.

Lee Plaza Building 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 Lee Plaza Building is also known, or has been known as, Lee Plaza Hotel, or Lee Plaza Apartments.

Its precise street address is 2234-2242 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI. You can also find it on the map here.

The Lee Plaza Building 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 Art Deco style. Because of that, the Lee Plaza Building was officially included in the National Register of Historic Places on November 5th 1981.

The building has been restored 2 times over the years to ensure its conservation and adaptation to the pass of time. The main restoration works happened in 1980 and 2024.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
1927
97
Construction completed
1929
95
a
Restoration
1980
44
Added to the NRHP
1981
43
b
Restoration
2024
0
years ago
2024
  1. 1968 to 1980 - Conversion into a senior citizens complex.
  2. 2019 to 2024 - After more than two decades of abandonment the building is restored. The architect in charge was Gruppo Roxbury, Ethos Development.

Architect and team

Charles Noble was the architecture firm in charge of the architectural design.

Charles Noble 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 Lee Plaza Building a reality:

  • Ralph T. Lee as the Main Developer
  • Corrado Parducci as the collaborating Artist

Architectural Style

The Lee Plaza 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 Lee Plaza Building was completed in 1929, right when the Art Deco movement was at its peak, so it kind of went with the trend at that time.

Spaces & Uses

The Lee Plaza Building reaches an architectural height of 180ft (55m). It has a total of 16 floors, 15 above ground and 1 basements.

When it opened its doors to the public in 1929, the Lee Plaza Building was primarily used as Hotel space. That however, is no longer the case, and today it mainly provides Residential space.

About the residences

The Lee Plaza Building has a total of 117 residential units throughout its 15 floors.

180ft (55m)
1 basements

Materials & Structure

The Lee Plaza 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 terracotta on the base of the building and on the decorative bands and spandrels.

Other materials found at the Lee Plaza Building include, walnut wood, used in the panels that cover the walls of the dining areas, italian marble, found on floors, walls and ornamental ceilings, wrought iron , used on accessories and decotation, bronze, used for the elevator doors and lighting elements, and mirrors, decorating the walls of the ballrooms.

Sources

  • npgallery.nps.gov