Adaptive reuse project on Grand River Avenue takes home architecture and design award

What’s happening: Detroit-based architecture studio M1DTW Architects was recognized for their work at 5000 Grand River Ave. with a 2022 Design Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Michigan. The building, 5000 Grand River Offices, is home to Lafayette American advertising agency.

5000 Grand River OfficesWhat it is: The original building was first built in the 1950s and was transformed into an office space with three adjoining courtyards filled with landscaping and Ginko trees. The courtyards were created by removing portions of a crumbling roof, offering flexible outdoor working spaces and lounges in addition to the interior office space. 

Why they won: “Minimal and strategic interventions yield a delightful repurposing of space. The jury enjoyed reviewing all of the submitted material for this project. Repurposing nondescript, big-box space (in this case, a grocery store) is a challenge and opportunity applicable in many communities,” the AIA Jury says in a statement. “The project capitalized on the best attributes of the existing building while thoughtfully executing addition by subtraction. Throughout the project, raw and finished materials are combined with great effect.”

Ginko trees in the courtyard.
What they’re saying: “We are thrilled to be recognized alongside our collaborators for our work on the 5000 Grand River Offices,” says M1DTW Design Director Christian Unverzagt. “We see this project as a tour de force of collaboration and innovation; collectively, the design and architecture teams were inspired by the challenge of converting an overlooked building into an adaptable and sought-after space. Working closely with several Detroit-based and national designers, we created a project of pivots that is responsive to the shifting needs of workplaces today. We’re honored to have helped steward the project from its original proposal as a mixed-use space to an expansive and diverse workspace now occupied by one of Detroit’s leading creative agencies.”

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.