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.
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.
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.
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.
LocationLawrence Technological University, 21000 West 10 Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075, United States
Design DirectorThom Mayne
Project PrincipalBrandon Welling
Project ArchitectAleksander Tamm-Seitz
Project TeamChris Eskew, Michael Nesbit, Atsushi Sugiuchi
Advanced TechnologyCory Brugger
Project AssistantsNatalie 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
VisualizationJasmine Park, Nathan Skrepcinski, Sam Tannenbaum
Architect of RecordAlbert Kahn Associates
StructuralAlbert Kahn Associates
MEP/Fire ProtectionAlbert Kahn Associates
CivilProfessional Engineering Association, PEA
Landscape ArchitectAlbert Kahn Associates
Cost EstimatorKirk Value Planners
GeotechnicalThe Mannick & Smith Group, Inc.
ClientLawrence Technological University
LocationLawrence Technological University, 21000 West 10 Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48075, USA
PhotographsCourtesy of Morphosis Architects