How I spent my summer

By | Detroit Architecture, Projects, Studio Happenings | No Comments

After leaving the Detroit area for school, it feels great to be back Downtown and getting to design and build where all the rebuilding and revitalizing is happening. It is a very exciting city to work in as the reputation changes and the city develops.

As a perfect example, I spent the past couple weeks building a model out of basswood and foam core of an old hardware store in the rising trendy neighborhood of Corktown that is being redeveloped into a loft apartment for four tenants. This rebuild used some components from the initial building with a couple major changes to the front and side façade. I had the opportunity to design a couple different façade options along with Kevin and Shane’s guidance and we brainstormed different ways to make it look awesome and how to make them interchangeable. I enjoy getting the chance to work with people who love what they do and thoroughly understand the field of architecture and are so happy to discuss and share their knowledge.


I cannot wait to see what’s next!

Megan Simmons

Architectural Intern

Here’s the New State Fairgrounds Redevelopment Plan – Development Watch – Curbed Detroit

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Here’s the New State Fairgrounds Redevelopment Plan

Thursday, March 19, 2015, by Paul Beshouri

At a crowded meeting yesterday evening, developers MagicPlus LLC and Redico unveiled the long-awaited second edition of their $200M redevelopment plan for the 157-acre State Fairgrounds site. The new design addresses some of the concerns raised about Plan 1.0, which was released in 2012 and widely criticized as an outdated, auto-centric strip mall mess. So what have developers cooked up this time?

Those hoping for a major departure from the first design will be disappointed. The new one is essentially a prettier-looking version of the original plan, but with the apartments, senior housing, and commercial space moved around just a little bit. Here are the main elements:

Housing: Tons of 1-2 bedroom townhouses and apartments aimed at the beloved “young professional” demographic. Some of the “cornerstone” locations (busy corners) would have ground-floor retail. Also a pair of senior housing buildings.

Saving Historic Stuff: The feel-good idea of converting the Colosseum into an 8-10 screen movie theater was stressed again and again, along with a similar plan to save the Poultry Building for something residential.

Shopping: In addition to the big-box spaces, we now have “Town Center Retail,” described at the meeting as “boutiques, local breweries; it’s clothing stores, artisans…more than your typical retail.”

School: After expressing strong interest in a building satellite campus on the site, Wayne County Community College now has a spot in the site plan right off State Fair Ave.

Green Space: Developers stressed the idea of an open, park-like development with green space aplenty. The Town Commons parks are the “centerpiece” of the development.

Transit: The State Fair bus station has been moved south to the corner of Woodward and State Fair. The Amtrak Station (or where it could hypothetically go, if someone else wants to build it) still has a spot near the big retail.

Stray Observations:

· The architect, SmithGroup, presented a modern, contemporary theme said to be inspired in part by the existing fairgrounds architecture.

· Developers stressed the plan’s walkability, saying the design included many pedestrian paths. They also mentioned that common areas (parks, etc) won’t be fenced off.

· College grads tend to move to “downtown Detroit or way into the suburbs,” said Redico, explaining the proposed housing offers a unique spot right in the middle. Are we not counting Ferndale or Royal Oak?

· Craig Willian from Redico seemed almost annoyed or defensive at times during his presentation of the plan. “You can’t just have mixed-use,” he said, later adding that cars would be king in Detroit for a “long, long time.”

via Here’s the New State Fairgrounds Redevelopment Plan – Development Watch – Curbed Detroit.

Tom Holzer Ford Progress Update

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Construction is getting close to being wrapped up on the renovation for Tom Holzer Ford’s new Body Shop.  The new roof has been installed and the interior is being fit up with new high powered, energy efficient LED lighting and light pipes.  This collision center will house state-of-the-art painting equipment arranged according to the newest trends in lean-processing.  Final photographs will be taken once the warmer weather arrives.  A big thank you goes out to all the great people over at Tom Holzer Ford and the hard work of Bloom General Contracting for another successful project.

A Great Place to Call Home

By | Studio Happenings | No Comments

Detroit, a metropolis filled with people who make things happen without any assistance, this is a city for entrepreneurs and doers. Detroit has fallen under bad times in her history, but growth is always present after a storm here. For all of those not from the city, or misled by popular headlines of bankruptcies and violence, Detroit is much more than its ruins. Unlike the ruins in Italy, much is becoming of what Detroit’s past settlers left behind. In recent years there have been groups of people coming together to make change in the city, and it is starting to be noticed nationwide. Dedicated people looking to improve their city and take issues into their own hands have sparked the interests of investors, one that is widely present in the downtown area, Dan Gilbert.

The Michigan Building is home to Studio Detroit, as well as other tenants.  The famous silent movie theatre of the 1920s, for example, was transformed to a majestic garage in the 1970s that people see in Cadillac commercials and sought after photographs of this sacred space.  Renovations are currently going on here. It is exciting for us at Studio Detroit to see this occurring.  The Michigan Building is just two streets from the hustling corridor Dan Gilbert is investing in known as Woodward Avenue. From our office on the ninth floor, we can see Grand Circus Park where the David Whitney has been transformed Aloft Hotel as well as apartments and restaurants. As I peer out onto this understated jewel of the city, there’s growth happening from our view on the ninth floor.

Stay tuned for future articles on the David Whitney, Grand Circus Park, as well as more on the developments of Detroit.

Related Articles that might further spark your interest.

Detroit Free Press

Historic Detroit—