Lonely Planet Writer

Watch skateboarders inside one of Detroit’s most opulent Art Deco buildings

In life, there aren’t many chances to watch extreme sports inside a historic Art Deco building, but for a few days in Michigan, visitors can do just that. This week, the Fisher Halfpipe will be on display in downtown Detroit’s famed Fisher Building, attracting spectators to witness pro skateboarders and BMX bike riders perform their gravity-defying sports.

The brainchild of global brand strategist Everard Findlay, the project seeks to create common ground inside one of the city’s most illustrious buildings. “I envisioned putting a halfpipe in the Fisher Building to celebrate community cohesion in the city of Detroit,” Findlay tells Lonely Planet. “Skating—a sport which embodies diversity in every way, has the unique ability to draw together radically different people.”

The half pipe will take over the main arcade of the Fisher Building, a National Historic Landmark skyscraper located in Detroit’s New Center district, where guests can watch the action from gateways below. The building is in itself a work of art — its lobby constructed with forty different kinds of marble, featuring barrel-vaulted ceilings and ornate frescos by Hungarian artist Géza Maróti. Within its 30 stories is the Fisher Theatre, one of the city’s oldest live theatre venues. The building has also featured nationally recognized fine art galleries and it currently houses the headquarters for Detroit Public Schools.

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Findlay notes the city has welcomed the unique and offbeat idea. “The Detroit community, from skateboarders, to filmmakers, to skatepark owners, to developers, has come together magnificently to support this project, essentially creating a modern commons in the most opulent of spaces,” he says. “It’s going to be an epic time at the Fisher Building!” The Fisher Halfpipe will be open to the public on 3-6 April, from 6pm to 9pm daily.

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