The Fisher Building
Backstory and Context
The seven Fisher brothers formed the Fisher Body Co in 1908,
and were responsible for creating the closed auto chassis. Just 18 years after
starting their business, General Motors bought them out for $208 million ($2.5
In 1927, they commissioned architect Albert Kahn to spare no expense in designing a building that would serve as their company headquarters as well as a center for shopping and entertainment in Detroit. Spending $9 million on its construction, the 29-story Fisher Building was created almost entirely out of granite and marble. It was given the nickname "The Golden Tower" due to the gold leaf tile that covered the outside (This was removed during WWII to prevent the building from being a bombing target.)2 Bronze windows and finishings line the interior, with spectacular mosaics, hand-painted ceilings, and sculptures throughout.
The bottom three floors held shops as well as the well-known Fisher Theater. The Theater had an elaborate Mayan Temple theme and could seat 3000 people. The 25th - 27th floors held the Fisher brothers' business suites, where they held an informal family meeting every day over lunch. 1
The Fisher Building is L-shaped with a single tower to the far right. The reason for this is that it was originally meant to be part of a sprawling three-building complex. There was to be another L-shaped building with a third taller 60-story building in the center of the two. However, the Great Depression hit just a year after the Fisher Building was opened, and all plans for the complex were scrapped. 2