Preservation Magazine, Summer 2017

A Facelift for Detroit's Fisher Building Murals

Fisher Building in Detroit

photo by: Michelle & Chris Gerard

In each Transitions section of Preservation magazine, we highlight places of local and national importance that have recently been restored, are currently threatened, have been saved from demolition or neglect, or have been lost. Here's one from Summer 2017.

This circa-1928 skyscraper in the New Center neighborhood of Detroit is often called the city’s “largest art object.” The seven Fisher brothers made their fortune in the Motor City by selling their auto-body manufacturing business to General Motors, and with the proceeds, they hired Detroit architect Albert Kahn to design this 28-story Art Deco building on the city’s West Grand Boulevard. The structure has been a mixed-use office and retail space ever since.

In 2015, Detroit-based development group The Platform purchased the Fisher Building. As the first stage in a proposed $100 million project to address deferred maintenance throughout the structure, The Platform began a $500,000 restoration of the three-story vaulted arcade ceiling that tops the lobby and two adjoining corridors in 2016.

The restoration team, led by EverGreene Architectural Arts, cleaned the domed ceiling, and then drilled and injected adhesive in several areas to stabilize the water-damaged plaster. EverGreene restored the original murals, designed by Hungarian artist Géza Maróti, using acrylic paint and imitation gold leaf.

Katherine Flynn is a former assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores, and uncovering the stories behind historic places.

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