You are here

Cadillac Place (General Motors Building)

-A A +A
General Motors Building
1919–1921, Albert Kahn; 2000–2001 rehabilitation, Eric Hill. 3044 W. Grand Blvd.
  • Cadillac Place (General Motors Building) (State Archives of Michigan)
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)

The mammoth former General Motors Building, with its eighteen hundred offices, symbolizes the power, prestige, and scale of the largest manufacturing corporation in the world. The fifteen-story building consists of an elongated central block with four projecting wings on the front and four in back, which allow ample natural light and greater air circulation for the employees. A five-story annex is at the rear. Created to house a wide scope of activities under one roof, the building contains an auditorium and exposition halls, as well as auto display rooms, shops, a gymnasium, a cafeteria, and lounges. The limestone-faced, steel-framed structure vividly exemplifies Louis Sullivan's tripartite concept of the tall building: an open, arcaded basement element carries unbroken vertical piers through ten stories to a colonnaded crown. Kahn's treatment differs from Sullivan, however, in that he concedes to the prevailing taste of the period by making his ornament classical. The classical motifs seemed appropriate for a headquarters office, in contrast to Kahn's contemporary functional Fisher Body Plant Number 21 ( WN75) a few blocks away. William C. Durant, founder of the General Motors Corporation and its president in 1919, commissioned Kahn for this project, which was his largest commission to date. Today offices of the State of Michigan and the Michigan Court of Appeals occupy the building. The building is a National Historic Landmark.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Cadillac Place (General Motors Building)", [Detroit, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 93-93.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.