Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments

Paul Cret

Cincinnati Union Terminal (1933)

Paul Philippe Cret with Fellheimer & Wagner, Architects

1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati OH

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Last Visited March 19 2012

Visible from I-75, you may think this building is the Hall of Justice from the DC Comic’s Justice League – which it did inspire. An image of this building also appeared in the movie Batman Forever as the “Hippodrome”, where Dick Grayson’s family is killed by Two-face.

In reality, it is the Cincinnati Union Terminal for train service in Cincinnati. Designed by Paul Cret, the same beaux arts architect as the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The Art Deco facade has bas relief sculptures flanking a huge arched window assembly with a stepped fountain out in front greeting travelers.

Inside, the halfdome lobby is vast and surprisingly colorful, with bold stripes of yellows and oranges in the ceiling, and amazing colored glass mosaic murals, each 22 feet high and 110 feet long depicting the history of Cincinnati.  From the lobby floor you at first do not realize they are composed of thousands of small glass mosaic pieces, but once you realize that, there are all the more impressive.

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Noel Night (2011)

39th Annual Noel Night

Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center

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December 3, 2011

The annual Noel Night celebration in Midtown Detroit is one of my favorite holiday events. It is all set within and around some of Detroit’s greatest monumental buildings, all of which were open and free to all for this evening.

There is something for everyone. The precise Detroit All City High School Marching Band marched in sync around the area and performed holiday music in their bright red and blue “Motown” uniforms. The less percise, but equally entertaining Detroit Party Marching Band also showed up – wearing more individually inspired attire. They can best define themselves –  ” Assembling often, spontaneously & when you least expect it…”. Warming things up for the crowd were performances by The Detroit Fire Guild. In the Detroit Institute of Arts famed Rivera Court there was something more traditional, The Rhythm Society Orchestra. Of course, the evening ended with the Salvation Army Band.

This is just a sample of the many museums, churches, galleries, clubs, restaurants, shops and other great establishments which make this evening , and every evening in Detroit special and exciting.

Blog Readers may initially wonder why this event is featured in a blog dedicated to experiencing architecture. All of these performances exist in, around, infront of, through, inbetween and on the steps of some of Detroit’s greatest Architectural treasures. Noel Night is all about Experiencing Great Architecture and Creative Built Environments, with a holiday theme. My sample shown here is from just two of the over 60 venues participating, you cannot possibly see all of them in one night – but you can try…..next year.

The photos in this post include these two buildings:

The Detroit Public Library (1921) Cass Gilbert, Architect

The Detroit Institute of Arts (1927) Paul Cret, Architect