Detroit Transit Center
|Client||Detroit Building Authority|
|Size||56,831 SF (5,280 SM)|
|Location||Detroit, MI, US|
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The City of Detroit identified a need for a fully operational Transit and Transfer station on the site of the historic former Michigan State Fair Grounds in Detroit, MI. The adaptive reuse of the 1926 Dairy Cattle building brings modern transit options to an area in desperate need of mobility. Spanning 52,000 square feet with an additional 1,500 square feet preserved from the 1924 Coliseum building portico, the transit hub will serve a higher density of commercial development in the area while serving as an important reminder of the historic state fairgrounds.
As the preservation architect, NORR is restoring the majority of the original cattle barn building while preparing the building for modern transit by implementing the program requirements for the DDOT (Detroit Department of Transit) and the SmartBus transit system. The building enclosure at the rider pick-up locations where the buses transverse will provide a more comfortable semi-enclosed area to protect commuters from harsh climate conditions and enhance safety while providing a unique historical experience of the former State Fairgrounds. Services and amenities will also be updated, including a waiting area, 24-hour bathrooms, retail space, bicycle storage, a police station and an interactive historical display.
NORR’s design intent for the Cattle Barn included the goal to retain the historic fabric of the former exhibition building while integrating transit operations, safety and technology into the nearly 100-year-old building. Significant features such as stucco cladding, exposed structure, large facade openings and upper clearstory windows will be maintained and restored as part of the preservation efforts. Treatments to adapt the building to a new use will be undertaken with a sensitive eye towards maintaining the civil importance of the facility. The existing vaulted center bay with exposed structure and roof structure will be kept exposed as it was originally designed.
An important feature of the Coliseum, the south Portico, is also being preserved and adapted as part of this project. The Portico will be carefully adapted as a new entrance feature to the public plaza while maintaining its status as an iconic State Fair feature.
NORR is working with design partners DLZ to deliver a unique local transit solution in a former agricultural exhibition hall on a monumental scale. The adaptive reuse of the Dairy Cattle building contributes to a sustainable future by lowering our carbon footprint and improving the overall cost lifecycle of the existing structure. Bicycle and scooter parking, public green space, retail opportunities and an event stage will help bring this historical site into the future.
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