The Union Trust Company commissioned the architectural firm of Smith Hinchman and Grylls to design their headquarters, and they turned the task over to head designer Wirt C. Rowland
The building became known as the Union Guardian Building and today is known as the Guardian Building.
The Guardian Building is one of the most significant and striking Art Deco skyscrapers in the world. The building’s taller north tower and smaller octagonal south tower are connected with a nave-like block similar to the plan of a cathedral. In fact, the Guardian Building was once promoted as “the Cathedral of Finance.” Its grandeur was, and still is, unconventional. Visitors are awestruck by the explosion of color, craftsmanship and blending of Native American, Aztec, and Arts & Crafts influences.
The lobby features a large glass mosaic and the banking hall’s spectacular mural are both by Michigan artist Ezra Winter. Flanking the sides of the main entrance are reliefs designed by Detroit’s own architectural sculptor Corrado Parducci. In all, forty artisans worked on the structure’s painted murals and ceilings, intricate tile work, mosaic and stained glass, marble fixtures and vaulted lobby.