Philip A. Hart Plaza, Detroit

An aerial view of Philip A. Hart Plaza featuring the Horace E. Dodge Fountain, with crowds of people...
1 Hart Plaza, Detroit, MI
Open to Public
Noguchi’s most ambitious effort at the time, the Philip A. Hart Plaza project, began with a commission for a fountain and spanned almost a decade as the artist expanded his scope to create the surrounding plaza along with facilities below surface level. Envisioned as a place for the community to gather, the plaza layout emphasized flexibility to accommodate large groups. Dotting the eight-acre site are various stepped areas for both seating and play; an outdoor amphitheater built into a hollow below-surface grade; and a 120-foot-tall stainless steel, torqued pylon marking one entrance. Its central feature is the Horace E. Dodge Fountain, a horizontal ring of stainless steel suspended by legs above a massive granite pool and animated by the results of Noguchi’s ongoing experiments with programmed spray patterns (as well complex lighting schemes for nighttime). Noguchi referred to the plaza, situated along the Detroit River, as “a horizon for people.” (Isamu Noguchi, The Sculpture of Space, New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1980, 29.)


Horace E. Dodge Fountain in Detroit, a horizontal stainless steel ring spraying cascades of mist,...

Excerpt from Isamu Noguchi, produced by Bruce Bassett and Whitgate Productions, Ltd., 1980.
The Noguchi Museum Archives, AV_1VT_006_1980. ©INFGM / ARS