Photographic: The ruins of Detroit

Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre captured what remains of a once-great city – and hint at the wider story of post-industrial America.

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This house, one of Albert Kahn’s first commissions, was built in 1893 for the wealthy banker William Livingstone. In the 1990s, it was moved and replanted a few yards away on a vacant lot. Eventually, its facade collapsed in 2007 and the house was demolished a few months later. WILLIAM LIVINGSTONE HOUSE, BRUSH PARK, 2006
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PIANO, ST ALBERTUS SCHOOL, 2007
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The church was built in 1908 and moved during the widening of East Grand Boulevard in 1936. The full sentence read: And You Shall Say God Did It… And Then Thou Shalt Have Good Success. EAST GRAND BOULEVARD METHODIST CHURCH, 2008
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For decades the Michigan Central Station was the entry door to the city, the Ellis Island of Detroit. Built in 1913 by Warren & Wetmore, the same architects who built New York Grand Central Station, it was meant to be the triumph of the railway era. That same year Ford established his first assembly line. Erected a few miles from downtown, it was originally thought that the expanding city center would eventually reach it, but this never happened. MICHIGAN CENTRAL STATION, 2007
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After World War II, rail traffic began to decline. The rise of automobiles, the development of highways and later air transport, slowly extinguished the need for railroads. The Michigan Central Station closed down in 1988. Like many neoclassical and Renaissance buildings, the station was inspired by the remains of the Baths of Caracalla. Ironically, just as the former Roman public baths, the Michigan Central Station itself ended as a ruin. It remains as the most iconic ruin of Detroit. WAITING HALL, MICHIGAN CENTRAL STATION, 2008
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Woodward Avenue is the main street around which the downtown and the rest of the city developed. Many buildings along Woodward Avenue remain abandoned, despite the gradual gentrification of the town center. WOODWARD AVENUE SEEN FROM THE BRODERICK TOWER ON MARATHON DAY, 2005
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Inaugurated in 1928, it was the 17th theater of the United Artists film studio founded by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and D. W. Griffith. The auditorium seating 2000 was one of the few to be designed in the flamboyant style known as Spanish Gothic. Although it seldom hosted live performances, it was mainly used as a cinema. Before falling into abandonment, it was used as a recording place by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 1978 to 1983. UNITED ARTISTS THEATER, 2005
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This 1700 seat theater hosting variety shows opened in 1917, it was rapidly used as a cinema. It was closed in 1988 following two criminal cases including a murder and was demolished in 2009. ADAMS THEATER, 2007
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Originally called Fort Wayne Hotel, it opened in 1926 under the aegis of the Masonic branch of the Knights of Pythias who had established its lodge on the second level (in what later became a ballroom). During the Great Depression, the building changed ownership and was renamed American Hotel. The 300 room complex closed in the 1990s. BALLROOM, AMERICAN HOTEL, 2007
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Shopping arcades such as these, located at the lower levels of the building, foreshadowed the later shopping malls built in the suburbs, which would make the former slowly disappear. ARCADE, LAFAYETTE BUILDING, 2007
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