Historic Detroit

Percival R. Pereira

Percival Raymond Pereira is best known for one of Detroit’s lesser known movie palaces: the Oriental Theatre, built in 1927 (It was later renamed the RKO Downtown). The Oriental was downtown Detroit’s only atmospheric movie theater, and had a Middle Eastern theme.

Pereira also was an associate architect under C. Howard Crane, and likely worked on some of Crane’s Detroit theaters.

In 1915, he left the firm of Thomas W. Lamb of New York to team up with Crane as his associate. At this time, the pair opened an office at 500 Fifth Ave. in New York, though Crane had offices in Detroit inside the Dime Building.

Despite the Oriental and his work with Crane, information on Periera is scarce. At some point, Pereira struck out on his own. We know he designed the Fairbairn Hotel in 1924, whether he had severed his ties with Crane by that time is unclear. If true, that would mean that Pereira did not work on Crane’s best-known work, such as the United Artists and Fox theaters.

The American Institute of Architects was notified of his death in August 1965, however that does not mean he hadn’t died before that time.

Percival R. Pereira’s work is not to be confused with that of the firm Pereira & Pereira, whose principal architects were William and Hal Pereira.