HAPPENINGS / REFLECT FORWARD / DETROIT HISTORIC PRESERVATION
A co-working space company settled on the restoration of a high profile downtown location to join the evolving work environment in Detroit: seven floors at 1449 Woodward Avenue.
Neumann/Smith partnered with Bedrock Detroit, Barton Malow, and Peter Basso and Associates in the historic preservation project to integrate accurate details and create a space that corresponds with the tenant’s various locations around the world.
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Built in 1914, the building required a general exterior restoration and extensive structural updates. Senior Project Manager, Bob McLean referenced original drawings of the building by Albert Kahn Associates to accurately recreate the façade and honor historic elements in the interior.
Original drawings by architect Albert Kahn Associates. Dated June 17, 1914.
New exterior details include structural glazed tile incorporated below the signage band to match the original façade. Details including a sheet metal leaf band were restored as well. The building’s roof, windows, elevators, and fire escape were all replaced to meet today’s building and life safety codes.
Leaf band, signage band structure, and glazed tile.
Challenges typical to century old buildings arose while restoring, such as curved walls, uneven floors, and outdated structural design. The team experienced several “surprises” when removing parts of the façade including steel structure behind the signage band. Due to the status of the structure, the team researched a product that would best fit with the exterior and installed a weather resistant signage band panel to celebrate the historic feature, an essential detail to the façade of the building.
Within its unique restoration, the 100-year old historical building blends co-working spaces, private offices, common areas and conference rooms, while offering direct access to the heart of downtown’s renaissance without a costly investment by tenants. Although considered modern décor, the use of glass, exposed ductwork, hardwood floors, and pre-finished aluminum storefronts are all nods to the industrial history of Detroit.
Over the span of a about a year and a half, the team worked from restoration to occupancy. Neumann/Smith team members include Senior Project Manager Bob McLean, President Joel Smith, and now retired Historic Preservation Specialist J. Michael Kirk.
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