Birmingham Art Gallery/Shop/Studio/Lofts Design

About This Project

Located in the buzzing city of Birmingham, Michigan, where commercial endeavors thrive and property values are some of the highest in the Midwest, the prospect of a facility that combines the arts, urban living, and a small storefront business, has a great potential for success.

Challenged with the current state of the global economy, and an even further deteriorated local economy that has been crushing the general social mood, this project attempts to combat this and elevate the mood of those that interact with the building. Whether it be driving by, walking past, meandering in, or living and working here daily, this building is to leave a positive impression.

Seeing that the amount of business generated by the storefront windows currently showcasing common art supplies was rather low, the decision was made to allow the art, which sparks a greater interest in a greater amount of pedestrians, to draw in people off the street.

Leaving an open area for pedestrians to relax and enjoy students’ sculpture, and creating curving galleries that are tangent to the sidewalk in order to guide passersby into the art center. Also, the common entrance allows all of the buildings traffic to be engaged with the art. Cafe patrons, Green’s patrons, residents and their visitors, students, teachers, directors, and staff are all welcomed into the building by a wonderful display of art.

The human scale of the building at the street was critical to creating an inviting space.  This was done by keeping the height at the street similar to the adjacent building and stepping the building back from the street. The repetition of the smooth form stepping back and away gives an enlightening impression. Also, the playful placement of the light filtering panels gives this building a delightful presence.