Old buildings, new tricks gallery
Where others see vacant and abandoned buildings, Detroit-based architect/U-M professor Christian Unverzagt sees promise and potential. As design director of M1/DTW, a multidisciplinary firm fusing design and cultural production, Unverzagt is carving a niche in the area of adaptive reuse – that is, recasting and transforming existing spaces. These days, clientele is trending increasingly toward local entrepreneurs – those seeking a creative space in Detroit to launch a new venture or expand an existing business. It’s a mindset Unverzagt readily embraces.
Center of Attention
In reconfiguing the expanded interior of Mills Pharmacy, Unverzagt’s team orchestrated a spatial configuration where the pharmacist is at the heart of the action. “The project wouldn’t have played the same if we had been given an empty lot,” he says.
Prescription for Success
Expanding Mills Pharmacy in suburban Detroit required Unverzagt’s team to design around existing obstacles.
This letterpress studio and gallery is designed to connect the community to traditional and emergent forms of printing. It also serves as a resource for entrepreneurial artists and designers.
“Even a hair salon is an active social space that affects many lives on a daily basis,” says Unverzagt of client 6 Salon.
In the Studio
When redesigning Detroit recording studio 54 Sound, Unverzagt sought to use unique materials that had “some authenticity you could connect with” but also were acoustically sound.
Take a Meeting
When converting a loading dock into a meeting space, Unverzagt and his team maximized existing elements. They suspended a 20-foot-long, 5-foot-wide table from the ceiling using a “leftover” hand winch and thick chain.