ODA New York has been selected as the Design Architect for the rehabilitation of Detroit's iconic Book Tower. Working with real estate company Bedrock, the team will create a mix of residential, hospitality, retail and office space in the tower. ODA plans to update and expand on Book Tower’s programming and existing structures with nearly 500,000 square feet of downtown programming. The restoration of the 38-story landmark aims to create a cohesive civic vision for Washington Boulevard.
As ODA states, the 486,760 square-foot structure was designed by Louis Kemper in 1916. Built in an Italian Renaissance style, the office tower took a decade to complete. Acquired by Bedrock in 2015, the extensive exterior restoration was recently completed, including the replacement of 2,483 historically-accurate windows and full restoration of the ornamental cornice complete with caryatid statues. A historic art glass skylight will be brought back to its original splendor as part of Bedrock’s work with ODA.
“The objective is to add a forward-looking mixed-use program to Detroit’s growing downtown that will meet the needs of businesses, visitors and residents alike. Bedrock has been an important catalyst, understanding the vital role that architecture plays in the systemic evolution of cities," said Eran Chen, founding principal of ODA. “Restoring, designing and engineering the conversion of such a legacy structure requires the utmost reverence for the remarkable history of the Book Tower, but also the vision and ambition to deliver a civic hub that complements the movement happening in Downtown Detroit."
“The Book Tower has been an iconic part of Detroit’s skyline for nearly a century, and throughout the meticulous exterior restoration process it became clear we needed to partner with an architect that understands how to leverage modern uses in a way that preserves the unique historic details that has endeared this building to Detroiters for generations,” said Melissa Dittmer, Chief Design Officer at Bedrock. “We are excited to work with ODA to add to the momentum on Washington Boulevard, which is already home to thriving local businesses and a well-established residential community with destination dining and hospitality options.“
ODA’s plans include a blend of public and private space, including a variety of public amenities in the form of retail, galleries, restaurants and cafe – many with open sight lines to Washington Boulevard and Grand River Avenue – adding to the city’s pedestrian experience. In turn, the building’s residents and guests will share amenity spaces throughout the different levels as well as entertainment spaces on the roof of the Book Building portion of the property. Accessible from multiple sides, the building will serve as a point of engagement in the city center, unlocking its potential as a link between Grand Circus Park, all the way to the Cobo Center.
The public is invited to tour the Book Tower as part of Detroit Design 139, an exhibition focusing on projects in Detroit that embody “inclusive futures.” Join Bedrock officials and ODA architects for A Look Inside Book Tower on Saturday, Sept. 7 from 1:30-6 p.m.
News via ODA