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MVRDV Reveals Glass Mural, an Office and Retail Building in Detroit’s Active Food Hub

MVRDV Reveals Glass Mural, an Office and Retail Building in Detroit’s Active Food Hub

MVRDV was commissioned the design of Glass Mural, a new 3,716-square-meter office and retail building with a custom glass façade that integrates colorful murals by artists DENIAL and Sheefy McFly. Located in Detroit’s Eastern Market neighborhood, the project will be MVRDV’s third mixed-use project in the United States and first in the Midwest.


MVRDV has unveiled images of Glass Mural, a four-story office and retail building in Detroit. Inspired mainly by the existing character of Eastern Market, the largest public farmers market in the United States, the project takes on a “colorfully printed glass façades that both celebrate existing murals and add new artistic works to the area”.

Located just outside the city’s downtown core, across Eastern Market’s largest and busiest market hall, at the intersection of Russell and Division Street, Glass Mural will replace a two-story brick building featuring a mural by local artist DENIAL. A new approach to preserving art and memory through architecture and technology, the intervention will “visually preserve this artwork by recreating the mural and brick pattern on a new canvas made of glass – combining a larger version of the mural with images of the building’s brick pattern as a single image, stretched around all four sides of the building”.


We loved the idea of the artworks that bring this area to life, and this building is our tribute to this character, eternalized through a printing technique. It allows us to interact with the spirit of the neighborhood in a way that is playful and unexpected. Our decision to do so with glass is also practical, as it allows us to incorporate windows to become a part of the artwork, not an obstacle for artists to work around. That enables a greater level of faithfulness to the original artwork that will be recreated, as well as greater artistic freedom for the new artwork. -- Winy Maas.


The first stage of the project commenced on September 30, 2020, with the construction of Glass Mural set to begin in 2021. Creating a canvas to build upon the area’s vibrant and creative character, by stacking shifting blocks, the project will have a ground-level retail storefront, with three floors of offices dispersed throughout the two primary glass blocks with permanent artworks. Moreover, the third block will house circulation cores and access to the roof deck.


Connected to the human-scale of Eastern Market, the blocks and murals will use “cutting-edge glass printing techniques to combine the colorful artworks with areas of transparency, providing windows for the shops and offices inside”. In fact, the glass facades will be produced using digital ceramic printing. While the first block will take on DENIAL’s work, the second block will present a newly commissioned mural by Sheefy McFly, and the third one will feature a “flat façade finish”, an opportunity for different artists over time to come and paint.

Finally, Glass Mural is a collaborative effort between MVRDV, FIRM Real Estate, and Architecture Talent Agency. The contractor for the project will be L.S. Brinker Company, a Detroit-based minority-owned construction management business.


Glass Mural

  • Location: Detroit, USA
  • Year: 2020
  • Client: FIRM Real Estate
  • Size and Programme: 3,716 m2 Office and retail
  • Architect: MVRDV
  • Founding Partner in charge: Winy Maas
  • Partner: Frans de Witte Design Team: Fedor Bron, Anouk Wilmering, Daniele Zonta, Sandra Jasionyte, Laura López Iglesias, Viktor Tamm, Fouad Addou, Elina Gaillard Visualisations: Antonio Luca Coco, Pavlos Ventouris, Luca Piattelli, Angelo LaDelfa, Kirill Emelianov, Francesco Vitale, Luana La Martina
  • Co-Architect: Integrated Design Solutions (Jeffrey D. Johnson, Jeffrey J. Zona, Adrian LaTona, Kevin Marshall) MEP: Integrated Design Solutions (Greg Sell, Dave DiCiuccio, Dominic Paome) Structural Engineer: IBI (Robert Aeck) Civil Engineer: PEA (Burke Jenkins) Contractor: L.S. Brinker Company (Dwight Hooks, Larry Brinker Jr) Artists: DENIAL (Daniel Bombardier), Sheefy McFly

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Cite: Christele Harrouk. "MVRDV Reveals Glass Mural, an Office and Retail Building in Detroit’s Active Food Hub" 01 Oct 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/948811/mvrdv-reveals-glass-mural-an-office-and-retail-building-in-detroits-active-food-hub> ISSN 0719-8884

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