Hotel Pontchartrain, Detroit, Michigan… revisited.
Change in buildings is nearly universal and commercial buildings are forever metamorphic. The Pontchartrain is an interesting case in that aphorism. Sent to an early grave and old beyond her years, she struggled to adapt to the demands of a rapidly changing city. The last time we visited her, the Pontch was a perfect example of Renaissance Revival architecture. Now we see her sometime after the addition of another five floors in 1916, looking very Second Empire. As Stewart Brand author of How Buildings Learn described it, commercial buildings tend to change more kaleidoscopically than their slowly morphing residential sisters. Got that right! Too bad the makeover didn’t buy her more time. The Pontch was demolished four years later.