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Design Icon: C. Howard Crane

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Without any architecture training, Crane built some of the most decadent theaters of the country.
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  Even if domes and arches were considered bad for acoustics, Crane made use of them in the hundreds, pushing the limits of aesthetics for the pure decadence of it. In it’s almost Catherdralesque proportions and ambiance, United Artists Theatre in L.A., now the Ace Hotel, is a luxurious example. Photo courtesy fubiz.net.
    Even if domes and arches were considered bad for acoustics, Crane made use of them in the hundreds, pushing the limits of aesthetics for the pure decadence of it. In it’s almost Catherdralesque proportions and ambiance, United Artists Theatre in L.A., now the Ace Hotel, is a luxurious example. Photo courtesy fubiz.net.
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  The arcaded-Italian style Majestic Theater in Detroit, built in 1909, was Crane’s first design. With 1651 seats, it was the largest movie theater in the world at the time. There is a myth that the great magician Houdini performed the last of his bewitching performances on this stage in 1926. Photo courtesy Retro Kimmer.
    The arcaded-Italian style Majestic Theater in Detroit, built in 1909, was Crane’s first design. With 1651 seats, it was the largest movie theater in the world at the time. There is a myth that the great magician Houdini performed the last of his bewitching performances on this stage in 1926. Photo courtesy Retro Kimmer.
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  The LeVeque Tower in Columbus, Ohio, is a 47-story, 555-foot-tall office tower masterpiece by Crane. It was the tallest building in Columbus from 1927 until 1974; at the time of its completion, it was the tallest building between New York City and Chicago and the fifth tallest building in the world. It is noted for its brightly lit tower, which was designed to emulate a citadel. Photo courtesy Architizer.
    The LeVeque Tower in Columbus, Ohio, is a 47-story, 555-foot-tall office tower masterpiece by Crane. It was the tallest building in Columbus from 1927 until 1974; at the time of its completion, it was the tallest building between New York City and Chicago and the fifth tallest building in the world. It is noted for its brightly lit tower, which was designed to emulate a citadel. Photo courtesy Architizer.
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  The 5,174-seat Detroit Fox Theatre was the largest of the Fox Theatres. With its unique mix of Egyptian, Far Eastern, and Indian styles, it was a movie palace exotique. Its featured two organs made it a favorite destination for thirty-five cent talkies, vaudeville, and organ concerts. The structure has weathered time and been faithfully restored. Photo by Christian Dionne.
    The 5,174-seat Detroit Fox Theatre was the largest of the Fox Theatres. With its unique mix of Egyptian, Far Eastern, and Indian styles, it was a movie palace exotique. Its featured two organs made it a favorite destination for thirty-five cent talkies, vaudeville, and organ concerts. The structure has weathered time and been faithfully restored. Photo by Christian Dionne.
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  Olympia Stadium, a former home of the Detroit Red Wings hockey team, has also hosted everything from Presidential speeches to boxing matches to circus spectacles. The building was instrumental in turning Detroit into an entertainment destination. Photo courtesy jaxonfilmfest.wordpress.com.
    Olympia Stadium, a former home of the Detroit Red Wings hockey team, has also hosted everything from Presidential speeches to boxing matches to circus spectacles. The building was instrumental in turning Detroit into an entertainment destination. Photo courtesy jaxonfilmfest.wordpress.com.
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  At the time of the opening of United Artists Theatre in New York, its owners proclaimed this building “the most beautiful, comfortable and up-to-date theatre in the world." As part of a United Artists Theatre series of buildings in Detroit, L.A., and New York, the idea was based a ‘movie palace’—a huge, all-encompassing destination where movies, recording studios, theater, and symphony performances, could all intermingle inside dazzling interiors. Photo courtesy la.curbed.com.
    At the time of the opening of United Artists Theatre in New York, its owners proclaimed this building “the most beautiful, comfortable and up-to-date theatre in the world." As part of a United Artists Theatre series of buildings in Detroit, L.A., and New York, the idea was based a ‘movie palace’—a huge, all-encompassing destination where movies, recording studios, theater, and symphony performances, could all intermingle inside dazzling interiors. Photo courtesy la.curbed.com.
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  Crane’s best know British commission was the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, an Art Moderne convention center that opened in 1937. In his London obituary it was written that, “Earl’s Court of London, 118 foot-high arena seating 30,000, was among the structures for which Mr. Crane was architect; it was built over a network of six railway lines without stopping a single train during construction." The interior of Earl’s Court oozes the luxurious, and is still enthralling audiences today. Photo courtesy Flickr.
    Crane’s best know British commission was the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, an Art Moderne convention center that opened in 1937. In his London obituary it was written that, “Earl’s Court of London, 118 foot-high arena seating 30,000, was among the structures for which Mr. Crane was architect; it was built over a network of six railway lines without stopping a single train during construction." The interior of Earl’s Court oozes the luxurious, and is still enthralling audiences today. Photo courtesy Flickr.

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