OMA reveal plans to convert former Detroit warehouse into arts HQ

10 May 2022
  • OMA/Luxigon
  • OMA/Luxigon
  • OMA/Luxigon

Detroit, IL

United States

Designs unveiled for creative hub in East Village District

OMA/Jason Long and contemporary arts organisation Library Street Collective co-founders Anthony and JJ Curis have announced plans for a new mixed-use arts education and public space in Detroit, IL., which involves the adaptive reuse of a former commercial bakery and warehouse built in the 1900s. Led by OMA Partner Jason Long, the 22,300 sq ft complex in the city’s East Village will serve as headquarters for two local non-profit art organisations, Signal-Return and the Progressive Arts Studio Collective (PASC). Nicknamed ‘LANTERN’, it will also include roughly 5,300 sq ft of affordable artist studios, an art gallery, and nearly 4,000 sq ft of creative retail space, all situated around a 2,000 sq ft outdoor courtyard.

PASC is the first art studio and exhibition program in Detroit and Wayne County dedicated to supporting adults with developmental disabilities and mental health differences. The new headquarters will provide studio space, workshops, and a gallery to showcase the work of its artists. Signal-Return is a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and teaching traditional letterpress printing in Detroit. The new flagship location will provide opportunities to further expand its programming, which includes workshops, exhibitions, educational partnerships, and the sale of prints and ephemera that focus on the work of local artists.

OMA’s approach takes advantage of the building’s current state of disrepair, transforming an area missing both its roof and an end wall into a courtyard at the heart of the building. Defined as the primary entry with multiple frontages for all tenants, the courtyard becomes a public, accessible gateway. Signal-Return and PASC’s diverse set of facilities are organised to maximize points of access and create potential opportunities for interaction with the surrounding community. The south building - currently a solid expanse of concrete masonry - will be drilled with 1,500 holes filled with cylindrical glass blocks, which will reveal activities within and give the impression of a glowing lantern at night.

Jason Long, OMA partner-in-charge, stated: “PASC and Signal-Return are both extraordinary organizations with a multi-faceted approach to community building through the arts. To support and enhance their ambitions, we are both turning the building in on itself and out toward the neighbourhood to bring a new density of activity and creative life to East Village,” said Jason Long, OMA Partner-in-Charge.”

 Lucy Nordberg

Tenderstream Head of Research

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