Maccabees Building

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

The Maccabees Building is an Art-deco skyscraper designed by Albert Kahn and built between 1926 and 1927 in Detroit, MI.

Maccabees Building is not the only name you might know this building by though. The building is, or has also been known as Wyne Tower.

Its precise street address is 5057 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI. You can also find it on the map here.

The Maccabees 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 Maccabees Building was officially included in the National Register of Historic Places on July 7th 1983.

The building underwent a major restoration between 2004 and 2005.

Building's timeline

Construction begins
1926
98
Construction completed
1927
97
Added to the NRHP
1983
41
a
Restoration
2005
19
years ago
2024
  1. 2004 to 2005 - The entire structure was renovated.

Architect and team

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

Albert Kahn 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 at the very least we know that there was one other part involved, that was Royal Maccabees Insurance as the Main Developer.

Architectural Style

The Maccabees 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 Maccabees Building was completed in 1927, right when the Art Deco movement was at its peak, so it kind of went with the trend at that time.

Spaces & Uses

The Maccabees Building reaches an architectural height of 197ft (60m), 466ft (142m) if you count the antenna. It has a total of 15 floors.

Ever since opening its doors to the public in 1927, the Maccabees Building has mainly been used as Commercial space, with other complementary uses such as education space.

466ft (142m)
197ft (60m)

Materials & Structure

The Maccabees Building uses a frame structure made of columns and beams.

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 carved stone and raised figures decorating the semi-circular arch that covers the entrance. A large bronze-framed glass structure covers the enrance door.The broze is also found in the two figures above the entrance columns and in the clock hanging from the ornate ceiling of the archway. As we move higher up the building, the facade continues with gray limestone and decorated spandrels between some floors.

Sources

  • npgallery.nps.gov