Location: Detroit, MI
Architect: Touloukian Touloukian Inc.
Lumen at Beacon Park
Site Description -
Lumen at Beacon Park, situated along Grand River Avenue, welcomes visitors into the center of downtown Detroit. This urban revitalization project and new public space was created to anchor the emerging neighborhood, spur economic development and provide a quality place for the community in the surging and vibrant downtown district. Central to its modern geometry are strong cantilevered roof forms gesturing towards the historic G.A.R. building and the park’s elliptical lawn, and a grand stair leading to a roof deck on axis with the historic Book Tower Building. Connections to the park landscape are further created with a green roof, and folding glass walls that provide a flexible indoor outdoor floor plan that supports restaurant seating, a farmer’s market, musical performances and a community meeting room.
Planning, Design, and Construction Process -
Initial site placement carefully considered the urban adjacencies and access to continue a seamless fabric along Grand River Avenue while providing a new presence on a once vacant lot. To attract the general public, a gestural wood clad roof cantilever extends over the public way to draw users into the restaurant, park and DTE campus beyond. To further integrate the new structure into the site, the building provides high levels of transparency with folding glass walls along the primary facades which promote an active relationship between the restaurant, park and general public. A roof deck also provides additional gathering spaces with a unique vantage point of the cityscape and park. A green roof was implemented to soften the experience of the roof deck and also creates a more desirable aesthetic from the viewpoint of the high-rise structures adjacent to the site looking down on the building.
In addition to its urban relationships, the intent for flexible indoor/outdoor spaces was also driven by the Client’s desire for adaptable spaces that could support a wide variety of building and park programming. To achieve this, inspiration was drawn from the automotive legacy of Detroit and the mid-century Ford Mustang. The efficiency, compactness and beauty of this vehicle was highly relatable to the design challenges faced with a flexible space needing complex structural, mechanical and programming coordination. The design was able to achieve a solution which approached the integration of its systems as a machine. Forms, systems and details were highly reviewed and efficiently planned between trades to provide maximum utilization of interior spaces while maintaining the primary design intentions.
Thermal performance was critical to the buildings overall envelope and its pursuit of LEED Silver Certification. The design team implemented thermal breaks between steel members that were passing through the thermal envelope, filled HSS members with spray foam insulation, and over-sprayed steel and metal decks to reduce thermal transfer.
Additional sustainable efforts included alternative transportation methods, reduced heat island effect, optimized energy performance and efficient systems, certified and recycled materials, and thermal comfort control.
The exterior building facades are comprised of sapele mahogany wood soffits, metal panel walls and fascia, and precast concrete wall panels and grand stair. The interior space utilizes the same sapele mahogany wood with an undulating louvered ceiling and wood walls fastened with brass screws. Additional white acoustic fabric and painted steel unistrut systems help support the ceiling and provide a balanced offset against the wood interior.
Detailing and Finishes
Interior design and finishes continued to pull inspiration from the automotive history in Detroit evocative of the interior textured detailing with wood wall paneling and an undulating wood louvered ceiling. The interior material language blends between the exterior wood soffits which enhances the experience of an indoor/outdoor relationship. An acoustical fabric system sits directly above the wood louvered ceiling to provide a comfortable acoustical atmosphere and creates a balance of material palettes with the surrounding wood tones. The perimeter glass wall systems are able to open and compactly stack together or remain closed for the appropriate use. Integrated lighting delicately up-lights the wood louvers and concealed shading systems provide control to create an optimal dining experience throughout the day.
By providing an adaptable space focused on its connection to a public space, the building is able to engage with the park users and promote a connection between the Client and its local community. The outreach efforts will sustain new relationships through a variety of events and programming to help engage and activate the previously vacated area.