Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has broken ground on its first U.S. project, a mixed-use tower and associated masterplan in Detroit, Michigan. “Monroe Blocks” will stitch together the heart of one of America’s most storied cities with a mix of modern office space, residential units, restaurants, retail, and outdoor public areas.
The 12,500-square-meter site in Detroit’s Campus Martius Park, vacant for a generation, will be activated by 4,800 square meters of outdoor space, with the design team drawing on historical influences for the form and materiality of the new masterplan.
Sitting at a nexus between arts, culture, and manufacturing, the area around Monroe Blocks is lined with Italianate stone and brick buildings from the late nineteenth century, making up was historically known as Detroit’s first theater district.
During the design process, we were heavily inspired by Detroit’s strong architectural gems and original masterplan by Augustus Woodruff. Monroe Blocks will recreate this destination for work and leisure, and will move people through the downtown area in new ways that we hope will inspire them to rediscover the city.
-Kristian Ahlmark, Partner and Design Director, Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Under the Schmidt Hammer Lassen plans, the historic façade of the surviving National Theater will be retained, and its ornate terracotta archway stitched into the development. The façade is to be disassembled, cataloged, and relocated to a new pedestrian walkway intersecting the heart of the masterplan, with an existing vehicular street pedestrianized to form a central vast outdoor space.
While paying respect to history, the SHL masterplan also seeks to become an icon of future development. The Monroe Blocks scheme will reintroduce historic arteries to connect surrounding districts, restore density, and generate new vibrant spaces for retail, food, and entertainment for a diverse mix of residents and visitors. Plot A, representing two-thirds of the project, will be anchored by a 35-story, WELL-certified, glass and terracotta office tower, while also offering a 17-story, 148-unit residential building and 66,000 square feet of retail space.
For the scheme’s development, Schmidt Hammer Lassen worked in collaboration with local architects Neumann/Smith Architecture, and developer Bedrock LLC. Completion of the scheme in expected in early 2022.
News via: Schmidt Hammer Lassen
Client: Bedrock Management Service LLC
Design Architect: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Local Architect: Neumann/Smith Architecture
Landscape Architect: SLA
Engineer: Buro Happold Engineering
Competition: Invited RFP process, 2016
Status: Expected completion 2022