Detroit Design 139

Urban Design

1001 Woodward Plaza

Ground Floor and Plaza Improvement

The plaza redesign was an opportunity to build a framework that supports not only the building occupants but the greater urban context.

Project Details

  • Location: Downtown
  • Project Size: 21,000 SQ FT
  • Completion Date: August 2016
  • Client: Bedrock Detroit
  • Architects:
  • Smith Group JJR

Framework for Sustained Use

Occupying an important site near the pedestrian core of a revitalized downtown Detroit, the existing plaza had for years undeserved both its building and the surrounding urban landscape. The high-rise tower entry was difficult to find and the plaza remained undefined and cold. Prompted by a need to replace the paving materials and prevent leaks into the basement below, the owner also saw an opportunity to transform the plaza into a vibranturban space, create a memorable front door, and build a framework forsustained and varied uses. The design carves the triangular-shaped plaza into various exterior rooms by using a palette of blackened stainless steel and board-formed concrete. Raised planting beds and teak slat benches add color and warmth. A continuously flowing water fountain and a double sided fireplace also help organize the space, playfully adding elements of movement and noise. To create a sense of enclosure up against the sheer tower, a stainless steel mesh canopy hovers overhead, stippled with custom LED cruciform lights evocative of the still existing banking hall ceiling immediately adjacent to the plaza.