As the city of Detroit continues to recover from its devastating economic crisis, revitalization is everywhere. Included in this renewal was bringing the abandoned 1920s-built Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago building back to life in the hustle and bustle of downtown Rock City. And so Bedrock Real Estate Services set forth a challenge ROSSETTI couldn’t resist—design an open, light-filled ground floor renovation with space for retail and eight floors of modern office space in the 176,000-square-foot building.
As mixed-use properties include space for retail and restaurants on the main levels and housing or commercial tenants up above, the architects at ROSETTI worked to meet the needs of its client, all while preserving the history of the building.
“We had to figure out some smart ways that were both historically appropriate and accurate, met the client’s needs, and showed a sense of respect for the original architect in the ’20s and for the addition designed by Japanese architect Minoru Yamaski,” Kelly Deines, principal architect at ROSSETTI, said.
The architects played on the fact that in Japanese culture, everyone has a ghost name. The design for the lobby became this idea that the spirit of Yamaski is wisping throughout. According to Deines, this created the concept of movement for the space’s design. A fluid, waving pattern continued this concept on the floor. Deines said terrazzo was the ideal material due to its longevity and customization. Made from pea gravel, travertine, different textured metals that resemble coins, and clear epoxy, the terrazzo combines the ode to Yamaski with the building’s rich history as a bank.
“It became this ‘arte povera’ (poor art) concept,” Deines said. “It (terrazzo) is a tried-and-true material. A ‘poor’ material done luxuriously.”
PROJECT NAME: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (Detroit, MI)
CLIENT: Bedrock Real Estate Services (Detroit, MI)
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: Artisan Tile (Brighton, MI)
ARCHITECT: ROSSETTI (Detroit, MI)
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Sachse Construction (Detroit, MI)
TERRAZZO MATERIAL SUPPLIERS: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Companies (Wheeling, IL) & Wausau Tile (Wausau, WI)
DIVIDER STRIP SUPPLIER: National Metal Shapes (Delaware, OH)
PHOTOGRAPHY: Jeff White, Octane Photography Studio