To love Ann Arbor is to love its unique style and feel. And what better way to enjoy the city than to learn about the buildings and histories that make Ann Arbor so special? Jacob Jabkiewicz, an architectural graduate from Lawrence Technological Institute, conducts the Ann Arbor Architectural Tours in hope of bringing awareness and excitement to the city’s classical and modern mix of design.
Ann Arbor Architectural Tours
Around Ann Arbor
Today at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and tomorrow at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
“I thought about going to Chicago and giving tours there and then I thought to myself, ‘Why couldn’t I give tours in Ann Arbor?’ ” Jabkiewicz said. “There is a great mix of style here, including Art Deco, international styles and Richardsonian Romanesque.”
It’s easy to spot the remarkable buildings walking down State Street — Angell Hall, the State Theater and Nickels Arcade are all examples of the city’s architectural treasure trove. Jabkiewicz’s tour includes buildings constructed from 1870 and beyond.
“Everybody is different and everybody gets something unique from the tour,” Jabkiewicz said. “Some people are most interested in architecture, while others are more interested in the history — why the building was built, for whom it was built and so on. There is a context of the building in terms of people.”
Among the 12 landmarks, Jabkiewicz covers the striking Newberry Hall, now the Francis W. Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, his building of choice.
“It was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, and for me it’s most beautiful and interesting,” Jabkiewicz said. “The ultimate goal is to combine lines and curves to the design of a building, and Newberry has this combination of linear and curvilinear.”
The round-headed arches and cylindrical towers of the Richardson Romanesque style are not the only prevalent designs in the city; in fact, Ann Arbor is full of examples from various architects and historical periods.
“There is quite a mix of styles in Ann Arbor, and they’re not necessarily related to each other,” Jabkiewicz said. “Building materials come from all over and the styles differ significantly and reflect different time periods.”
Jabkiewicz noted this mix of styles and architecture is akin to the overall Ann Arbor feel, one where a mixture of residents, visitors and quirky individuals come together on the streets, mingling and creating a cultural motley crew.
“The buildings are diverse just as the people in Ann Arbor are diverse,” Jabkiewicz said. “It is not a homogenous community and the architecture is one indication of that.”