Glass Mural Building Slated for Detroit’s Eastern Market

Located at the intersection of Russell and Division Street, Detroit’s Eastern Market neighborhood will house a unique retail and office development known as the Glass Mural. The first stage of the project commenced on Sept. 30, and construction is set to begin in 2021.
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Glass Mural
Construction on the Glass Mural, a four-story retail and office building, is expected to begin next year and will feature artwork by a Canadian and Detroit artist. // Rendering courtesy of MVRDV

Located at the intersection of Russell and Division Street, Detroit’s Eastern Market neighborhood will house a unique retail and office development known as the Glass Mural. The first stage of the project commenced on Sept. 30, and construction is set to begin in 2021.

The Glass Mural, a glass façade four-story building, is a project by L.S. Brinker Co. that will display colorful, printed glass exterior walls designed to celebrate existing murals while also adding new artistic works to the district. MVRDV, a global operating architecture firm, plans to design the building with a stack of shifting glass blocks.

“We 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,” says Winy Maas, co-founder of MVRDV. “It allows us to interact with the spirit of the neighborhood in a way that is playful and unexpected. It enables a greater level of faithfulness to the original artwork that will be recreated, as well as greater artistic freedom for the new artwork.”

Currently, the site is home to a two-story brick building with a previous mural designed by DENIAL, a Canadian artist. MVRDV’s proposal is to preserve this mural by recreating it on a new canvas made of glass and stretching it around all four sides of the new building.

“I feel that the physical integration of the original public artwork into the glass architecture of the building is about the permanent preservation of an idea for the future to experience as an ephemeral form of art,” says DENIAL. “To incorporate the artwork and history of the building into the new imagination of the structure is a beautiful homage to a true epoch of change in the Eastern Market district and for Detroit.”

The upper half of the building will provide a slight contrast with a newly commissioned mural by Sheefy McFly, one of Detroit’s top emerging creative talents. Both murals will make use of glass printing techniques to combine colorful artwork with areas of transparency. In addition, there will also be a dedicated area of the building that is completely blank and not made of glass, which allows different artists over time to paint murals on it.

Glass Mural will provide retail spaces for local and Michigan-based businesses on the ground level with the upper three floors available for office or other commercial use. A rooftop space will be an amenity offered to tenants and will provide 360-degree views of Eastern Market and the Detroit skyline.

MVRDV is a global operating architecture and urbanism practice that works in contemporary architectural and urban issues. It was founded in The Netherlands in 1993. Its selection was the result of a collaborative effort between FIRM Real Estate and Architecture Talent Agency in Detroit.

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