American architecture studios Gensler and Civilian have restored the historic Book Depository building in Detroit and transformed it into the headquarters for technology company Newlab.
The 270,000-square-foot (25,083 square meters) building will be used as a center for startups, entrepreneurs, engineers and scientists working in mobility technology.
The Book Depository building was originally built in 1936, designed by American architect Albert Kahn as a post office and mail-sorting facility. It was later used as a place to store books by Detroit Public Schools, from which it draws its name.
The building now includes an exhibition space, an event space, a robotics and prototyping facility, and two open studio spaces with desks, lounge areas, classrooms and meeting rooms.
The interior has an industrial appearance with concrete floors and exposed services. Civilian co-founder Nicko Elliott said that the goal was to create “a resonant and layered environment”.
Lounge chairs, circular tables and plantings fill the central atrium space, which provides a collaborative workspace lit by the skylight above.
“The building has been repositioned to meet the demands of the city’s top innovators, including ample access to daylight, open internal connectivity and destinations for exchange, and an engaging ground floor as a connective intersection within the overall development, serving as a boulevard for the community, industry partners, and the neighborhood,” said Gensler.
“Embracing the rich history of the building, juxtaposing design elements with the industrial strength and structure associated with Albert Kahns work, Gensler reimagined the building with a focus on connection and collaboration,” added the developer Central Michigan.
New Lab has an existing headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, and hopes that transforming the Book Depository building into the company’s Detroit headquarters will attract jobs to the area.
“Building on its success in Brooklyn, Newlab is scaling its model of applied innovation to create the conditions for a sustainable high-tech startup ecosystem to take hold in the region,” said the company.
“Projected to attract thousands