The Michigan State Capitol redesign that never was

The Michigan State Capitol building, in all of its Neoclassical glory, is so emblematic of governance in the state that we were shocked to discover a series of fortress-like buildings were once floated as its possible replacement. According to old newspaper articles compiled by Michigan State University journalism student Andrew Roth, the state budgeted for a redesign in the 1960s and a variety of building proposals were put forward by the architectural firm Smith, Hinchman, & Grylls. The images in this gallery are scanned renderings of four of the designs presented by the firm.

Ultimately, plans for a new Capitol were scrapped when former Governor William Milliken called for the restoration of the existing building in the '80s. The upgraded Capitol was named a National Historic Landmark in 1992.

Scans provided by Andrew Roth via the Library of Michigan.

Scroll down to view images
Scheme A 
According to a booklet that included renderings of the proposed development, Scheme A included a three-story high legislative building and a 25-story office tower. Legislative chambers would have been located in the three-story building. Below-ground parking would have accommodated just under 1,100 cars.
Building Gross Area: 590,050 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 314,950 sq. ft.
Scheme A
According to a booklet that included renderings of the proposed development, Scheme A included a three-story high legislative building and a 25-story office tower. Legislative chambers would have been located in the three-story building. Below-ground parking would have accommodated just under 1,100 cars.
Building Gross Area: 590,050 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 314,950 sq. ft.
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Scheme A 
According to a booklet that included renderings of the proposed development, Scheme A included a three-story high legislative building and a 25-story office tower. Legislative chambers would have been located in the three-story building. Below-ground parking would have accommodated just under 1,100 cars.
Building Gross Area: 590,050 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 314,950 sq. ft.
Scheme A
According to a booklet that included renderings of the proposed development, Scheme A included a three-story high legislative building and a 25-story office tower. Legislative chambers would have been located in the three-story building. Below-ground parking would have accommodated just under 1,100 cars.
Building Gross Area: 590,050 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 314,950 sq. ft.
2 of 14
Scheme A 
According to a booklet that included renderings of the proposed development, Scheme A included a three-story high legislative building and a 25-story office tower. Legislative chambers would have been located in the three-story building. Below-ground parking would have accommodated just under 1,100 cars.
Building Gross Area: 590,050 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 314,950 sq. ft.
Scheme A
According to a booklet that included renderings of the proposed development, Scheme A included a three-story high legislative building and a 25-story office tower. Legislative chambers would have been located in the three-story building. Below-ground parking would have accommodated just under 1,100 cars.
Building Gross Area: 590,050 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 314,950 sq. ft.
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Scheme B 
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme B included a 200 foot cube raised above a plaza with a legislative complex below the plaza. The House and Senate chambers would have been placed below plaza-level, while the second and third floors would have been devoted to the governor and his staff. Legislative offices would have been located on the floors above. The height of the legislative chambers was envisioned to extend the full height of the building; the lawmakers' offices would have made up the upper walls of the chamber. The proposal included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 574,400 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 321,150 sq. ft.
Scheme B
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme B included a 200 foot cube raised above a plaza with a legislative complex below the plaza. The House and Senate chambers would have been placed below plaza-level, while the second and third floors would have been devoted to the governor and his staff. Legislative offices would have been located on the floors above. The height of the legislative chambers was envisioned to extend the full height of the building; the lawmakers' offices would have made up the upper walls of the chamber. The proposal included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 574,400 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 321,150 sq. ft.
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Scheme B 
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme B included a 200 foot cube raised above a plaza with a legislative complex below the plaza. The House and Senate chambers would have been placed below plaza-level, while the second and third floors would have been devoted to the governor and his staff. Legislative offices would have been located on the floors above. The height of the legislative chambers was envisioned to extend the full height of the building; the lawmakers' offices would have made up the upper walls of the chamber. The proposal included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 574,400 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 321,150 sq. ft.
Scheme B
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme B included a 200 foot cube raised above a plaza with a legislative complex below the plaza. The House and Senate chambers would have been placed below plaza-level, while the second and third floors would have been devoted to the governor and his staff. Legislative offices would have been located on the floors above. The height of the legislative chambers was envisioned to extend the full height of the building; the lawmakers' offices would have made up the upper walls of the chamber. The proposal included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 574,400 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 321,150 sq. ft.
5 of 14
Scheme C 
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme C would have been comprised of three buildings — one for the Senate, one for the House, and one for the executive branch. The chambers in each legislative building would have been below-ground, with the height of each chamber extending the height of each building and legislative offices making up the upper walls of the chamber. The buildings would have been interconnected below-ground. The proposal also included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 562,150 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 313,500 sq. ft.
Scheme C
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme C would have been comprised of three buildings — one for the Senate, one for the House, and one for the executive branch. The chambers in each legislative building would have been below-ground, with the height of each chamber extending the height of each building and legislative offices making up the upper walls of the chamber. The buildings would have been interconnected below-ground. The proposal also included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 562,150 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 313,500 sq. ft.
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Scheme C 
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme C would have been comprised of three buildings — one for the Senate, one for the House, and one for the executive branch. The chambers in each legislative building would have been below-ground, with the height of each chamber extending the height of each building and legislative offices making up the upper walls of the chamber. The buildings would have been interconnected below-ground. The proposal also included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 562,150 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 313,500 sq. ft.
Scheme C
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme C would have been comprised of three buildings — one for the Senate, one for the House, and one for the executive branch. The chambers in each legislative building would have been below-ground, with the height of each chamber extending the height of each building and legislative offices making up the upper walls of the chamber. The buildings would have been interconnected below-ground. The proposal also included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 562,150 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 313,500 sq. ft.
7 of 14
Scheme C 
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme C would have been comprised of three buildings — one for the Senate, one for the House, and one for the executive branch. The chambers in each legislative building would have been below-ground, with the height of each chamber extending the height of each building and legislative offices making up the upper walls of the chamber. The buildings would have been interconnected below-ground. The proposal also included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 562,150 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 313,500 sq. ft.
Scheme C
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme C would have been comprised of three buildings — one for the Senate, one for the House, and one for the executive branch. The chambers in each legislative building would have been below-ground, with the height of each chamber extending the height of each building and legislative offices making up the upper walls of the chamber. The buildings would have been interconnected below-ground. The proposal also included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 562,150 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 313,500 sq. ft.
8 of 14
Scheme C 
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme C would have been comprised of three buildings — one for the Senate, one for the House, and one for the executive branch. The chambers in each legislative building would have been below-ground, with the height of each chamber extending the height of each building and legislative offices making up the upper walls of the chamber. The buildings would have been interconnected below-ground. The proposal also included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 562,150 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 313,500 sq. ft.
Scheme C
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme C would have been comprised of three buildings — one for the Senate, one for the House, and one for the executive branch. The chambers in each legislative building would have been below-ground, with the height of each chamber extending the height of each building and legislative offices making up the upper walls of the chamber. The buildings would have been interconnected below-ground. The proposal also included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 562,150 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 313,500 sq. ft.
9 of 14
Scheme C 
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme C would have been comprised of three buildings — one for the Senate, one for the House, and one for the executive branch. The chambers in each legislative building would have been below-ground, with the height of each chamber extending the height of each building and legislative offices making up the upper walls of the chamber. The buildings would have been interconnected below-ground. The proposal also included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 562,150 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 313,500 sq. ft.
Scheme C
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme C would have been comprised of three buildings — one for the Senate, one for the House, and one for the executive branch. The chambers in each legislative building would have been below-ground, with the height of each chamber extending the height of each building and legislative offices making up the upper walls of the chamber. The buildings would have been interconnected below-ground. The proposal also included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 562,150 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 313,500 sq. ft.
10 of 14
Scheme C 
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme C would have been comprised of three buildings — one for the Senate, one for the House, and one for the executive branch. The chambers in each legislative building would have been below-ground, with the height of each chamber extending the height of each building and legislative offices making up the upper walls of the chamber. The buildings would have been interconnected below-ground. The proposal also included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 562,150 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 313,500 sq. ft.
Scheme C
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme C would have been comprised of three buildings — one for the Senate, one for the House, and one for the executive branch. The chambers in each legislative building would have been below-ground, with the height of each chamber extending the height of each building and legislative offices making up the upper walls of the chamber. The buildings would have been interconnected below-ground. The proposal also included 1,100 spaces of below-ground parking.
Building Gross Area: 562,150 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 313,500 sq. ft.
11 of 14
Scheme D 
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme D was to be comprised of three buildings on a podium. The buildings ranged in height from five to eight stories and the podium contained the House and Senate chambers. As in the other proposals, the chamber height was to extend the full height of the building with offices making up its upper walls. Below-ground parking would have accommodated just under 1,000 cars.
Building Gross Area: 576,300 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 320,400 sq. ft.
Scheme D
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme D was to be comprised of three buildings on a podium. The buildings ranged in height from five to eight stories and the podium contained the House and Senate chambers. As in the other proposals, the chamber height was to extend the full height of the building with offices making up its upper walls. Below-ground parking would have accommodated just under 1,000 cars.
Building Gross Area: 576,300 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 320,400 sq. ft.
12 of 14
Scheme D 
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme D was to be comprised of three buildings on a podium. The buildings ranged in height from five to eight stories and the podium contained the House and Senate chambers. As in the other proposals, the chamber height was to extend the full height of the building with offices making up its upper walls. Below-ground parking would have accommodated just under 1,000 cars.
Building Gross Area: 576,300 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 320,400 sq. ft.
Scheme D
According to a booklet that included renderings of the development, Scheme D was to be comprised of three buildings on a podium. The buildings ranged in height from five to eight stories and the podium contained the House and Senate chambers. As in the other proposals, the chamber height was to extend the full height of the building with offices making up its upper walls. Below-ground parking would have accommodated just under 1,000 cars.
Building Gross Area: 576,300 sq. ft.
Building Net Area: 320,400 sq. ft.
13 of 14
The Michigan State Capitol as we know it.
The Michigan State Capitol as we know it.
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