Morphosis and Albert Kahn Join Forces to Expand Detroit University

Morphosis and Albert Kahn Join Forces to Expand Detroit University

Morphosis Architects has teamed up with Albert Kahn Associates to expand Detroit's Lawrence Technological University with a new "Taubman Complex." Marked by a "carbon-fiber circulation orb," the complex will form a new grand entrance to the University and provide flexible laboratory space for multidisciplinary research, including robotics and biomedical engineering.

© Morphosis Architects
© Morphosis Architects

From the architects: As the post-war capital of auto manufacturing in the U.S., the city of Detroit has historically been synonymous with innovation in American engineering. Lawrence Technological University is intrinsically intertwined with the city’s legacy and future in tech and innovation; launched in 1932 with the help of Henry and Edsel Ford, the school was founded as a pioneering experiment in a practice-based approach to education in architecture, engineering, applied science, and management.

Henry Ford’s influence over architecture in Detroit goes beyond educational experiments; by the time Lawrence Technological University was founded, Ford had already engaged the architectural firm Albert Kahn Associates to build a series of state-of-the-art automotive factories, which employed new engineering techniques to create open span, clerestory-lit facilities that offered the flexibility to keep up with rapidly changing industries. A century later, Kahn’s innovations are revived in a new expansion for Lawrence Technological University designed to offer flexible laboratory facilities for multiple disciplines.

© Morphosis Architects
© Morphosis Architects

With its bridge-like form defining the periphery of the campus, the Taubman Complex reinforces a new axis that organizes discrete buildings and anticipates future regions of the school. The Complex is linked to neighboring buildings by lifted bridges, forming a new grand entrance and gateway to the University. Breaching the linear envelope of the building, a carbon-fibre circulation orb marks entry and creates a focal point for the University quad. 

© Morphosis Architects
© Morphosis Architects

The new Taubman Complex will provide advanced facilities for robotics engineering, biomedical engineering, life sciences and related programs. Designed to function as an extending bar that accommodates phased construction, the building utilizes laboratory modules and flex areas to efficiently support future expansion. 

Construction is expected to complete in 2016.

  • Architects

  • Location

    Lawrence Technological University, 21000 West 10 Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075, United States
  • Design Director

    Thom Mayne
  • Project Principal

    Brandon Welling
  • Project Architect

    Aleksander Tamm-Seitz
  • Project Team

    Chris Eskew, Michael Nesbit, Atsushi Sugiuchi
  • Advanced Technology

    Cory Brugger
  • Project Assistants

    Natalie Abbott, Carmelia Chiang, Sam Clovis, Thomas Day, Ryan Docken, Bart Gillespie, Mauricio Gomez, Parham Hakimi, Jonathan Kaminsky, Hunter Knight, Sarah Kott, Katie MacDonald, Nicole Meyer, Derrick Whitmire, Pablo Zunzunegui
  • Visualization

    Jasmine Park, Nathan Skrepcinski, Sam Tannenbaum
  • Architect of Record

    Albert Kahn Associates
  • Structural

    Albert Kahn Associates
  • MEP/Fire Protection

    Albert Kahn Associates
  • Civil

    Professional Engineering Association, PEA
  • Landscape Architect

    Albert Kahn Associates
  • Cost Estimator

    Kirk Value Planners

  • Geotechnical

    The Mannick & Smith Group, Inc.
  • Client

    Lawrence Technological University
  • Area

    11613.0 sqm
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

    Morphosis Architects

Project gallery

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Project location

Address: Lawrence Technological University, 21000 West 10 Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075, United States

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: Karissa Rosenfield. "Morphosis and Albert Kahn Join Forces to Expand Detroit University " 06 Aug 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
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