The Glass mural is an architecture firm’s visionary marvel which features Detroit and Windsor artists. It is a beautiful love letter to the urban monochrome city of Detroit.
Location: Detroit, United States
Client: FIRM Real Estate
Built year: Commencing in 2020
Built Area: 3716 m²
Building Usage: Commercial (Office and Retails)
Being located just outside Detroit’s downtown core, across Eastern Market’s largest and busiest market hall, at the intersection of Russell and Division Street, is an architecture firm’s visionary marvel which features Detroit and Windsor Artists – Glass Mural.
This commercial yet artistic structure that replaces a two-story brick building on-site, seeks to visually preserve this artwork by recreating the mural and brick pattern on a new canvas made of glass. This is made possible by combining a larger version of the mural by local artists with images of the building’s brick pattern as a single graphic, stretched around all four sides of the building. This is a new approach to preserving art and memory through architecture and technology.
The Glass Mural interacting with the street. ©www.igsmag.com
The building aims to create a dialogue between the street, people, and the interiors of the building. To connect to the human-scale on the street, the blocks and murals use cutting-edge glass printing techniques to combine colorful artworks with areas of transparency, providing windows for the shops and offices inside. The architect wants to visually engage passersby into the indoor activities in the retail and office areas, yet maintaining a barrier – creating a positive space in the congested urban concrete jungle.
MVRDV’s design for the building comprises a stack of shifting blocks with the spatial configuration of the ground-level being utilized as a retail storefront, and the above three floors are designed for offices that are dispersed throughout the two primary glass blocks with permanent artworks. Moreover, the third block will house circulation cores and access to the roof deck, which will be a fully occupiable amenity for office tenants. The glass facades encasing the structure becomes a canvas to build upon and the area’s vibrant and creative character is to be produced and enhanced by using the digital ceramic printing on the glass facade, a technique which MVRDV has considerable experience in. A similar glass facade feature was used in the 2013 project Glass Farm, where an image of a typical Dutch farmhouse was enlarged and printed onto the exterior of a new glass building in the heart of the village of Schijndel, the Netherlands in hopes of having a visual bonding between the city, streets and the building by keeping the culture and community alive in this new era design.
Fun Fact: Winy Maas, the founding partner of MVRDV when speaking about his idea and the views behind his upcoming project said – ‘We as a team loved the idea of the artworks that bring this area to life, and this building is our tribute to this character, eternalized through a printing technique. It allows us to interact with the spirit of the neighborhood in a way that is playful and unexpected. Our decision to do so with glass is also practical, as it allows us to incorporate windows to become a part of the artwork, not an obstacle for artists to work around. that enables a greater level of faithfulness to the original artwork that will be recreated, as well as greater artistic freedom for the new artwork.’
The murals and the artwork on the facades are the community engaging factor of the building and hence, the spotlight is on the local artists. Therefore, the first block is set to feature DENIAL’s, a local artist’s work and the second block will present a newly commissioned mural by Sheefy McFly. The third block, however, will feature a “flat façade finish” to create a canvas that will ve ever-changing. This blank space will be an opportunity for different artists over time to come and paint – promoting voicing out one’s opinions, community strength, the city’s culture, and current affairs awareness. It is an elbow room for upcoming artists and the local public, which will give them freedom of creativity and a stage to put forth their views on a large scale. Conclusively speaking, it’s MVRDV’s initiative to promote and preserve the street art of Detroit.
The concept, design, and decision to proceed with this striking Glass Mural infrastructure plan is a result of a collaborative effort between the client FIRM Real Estate and Architecture Talent Agency, a Detroit-based company that represents international architecture and design firms for the commission of new projects. The first stage of the design development concluded on September 30, 2020, and the construction of Glass Mural is slated to begin in 2021.
This project is indeed set to be the face of free artistic representation, revolution, rejuvenation, and urban development in the city of Detroit and it is already the talk of the town and worldwide.