Category: Institutional
Location: Detroit, MI
Size: 30000 sq. ft.
Masonry Used:Standard Clay Masonry: 93,600 and Concrete Masonry Units: 46,450
Submitted by: SmithGroupJJR.

Project Description

Originally designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1942, the Art Museum identified the need for necessary corrections to care for the historic museum building and to provide a new 30,000 gsf Collections Building to house current and future museum collections.

The critical concept for the design was for the new structure to respectively and quietly complement the existing Saarinen-designed building.

When selecting a brick for the east side of the Collections building, the team chose a red brick - identical to the brick used on the Studio building - creating a dialog with the existing Studio building, while producing a distinct look from the Museum. This created an identity for the Collections building, while still allowing it to be compatible with the existing campus color palette.

Brick façade continues on the west side of the Collections building to further continue the dialog with the existing brick on the Museum.

When researching which brick would complement the existing campus palette, they explored options using the same red brick on the east side of the building and the Studio building, by firing the brick for a second time and applying a clear glaze to arrive at a darker (brown), shiny finish brick.

To reinforce the brick façade on the west side, the team used a Norman sized, instead of the standard brick (8” long). On the west side, there are no windows and the only ornamentation is a stainless steel bench.

The entire building is trimmed with zinc-coated steel panels and the two brick colors are set off with the zinc-coated steel zipper.

Interior masonry was fashioned with standard grey concrete block, which were rake-jointed and the finish dry-cleaned to keep the slurry surface of the block. The purpose of the concrete block was to create a highly conditioned warehouse, designed as an art archive and elevate the utilitarian building material. The addition of precious materials, including galvanized steel doors and frames, stainless steel frames and mahogany doors, further elevated the warehouse material.

In addition to the supplemental materials, niches were created within the concrete blocks to act as a teaching tool, displaying collection pieces.

Project Participants

Architect / Designer's Name: Paul Urbanek, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C
Company: SmithGroupJJR
Phone: (313) 442-8453

Structural Engineer' s Name: Andrea Reynolds
Company: SmithGroupJJR
Phone: (313) 442-8243

General Contractor's Name: Gene Ferrara
Company: Frank Rewold & Sons
Phone: (248) 601-1222

Masonry Contractor's Name: Darryl Devoogd
Company: Brend Masonry
Phone: (586) 997-1320
Masonry Supplier's Name: Ron Hunt

Company: Grand Blanc Cement Products
Phone: (810) 691-0016
Masonry Supplier's Name: Bob Weeks
Company: Brick Tech
Phone: (248) 225-4234

Masonry Supplier's Name: Jeff Snyder
Company: Mason Pro
Phone: (248) 347-3824

Name: Bill Barker
Company: St. Mary's Inc., United States
Phone: (313) 570-8115