General Motors' first research lab building, the Argonaut, next to the also-Albert Kahn-designed GM headquarters, recently hosted a tour for Albert Kahn Associates (AKA) employees and members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). AKA was founded in 1895 and has completed the adaptive re-use of the 1928 building. Now it serves as a new anchor building for the College for Creative Studies (CCS), in addition to the school's existing Walter and Josephine Ford Campus in Detroit's Cultural Center.
Located at Cass and Milwaukee on a 5.3 acre site, the building totals 760,000 gross square feet plus a lower level. The $145 million project was completed in September 2009 and welcomed its first semester of about 1,100 students and staff from CCS. Studies offered at the Taubman Center location include Advertising Design, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Product Design, and Transportation Design.
The 11-story building is planned to accommodate 2,500 people. Also contained in the building is dormitory space for up to 300 CCS students, space for 960 students and staff of the Henry Ford Learning Institute, and space for 250 additional tenants. This adaptive re-use project is sustainability-at-work as presenters from AKA noted that the greenest building is an existing building.
Every design decision, construction method, and material used was designed to meet LEED-CS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Core and Shell) standards. LEED is a green building rating system developed by the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as a standard of measurement to define green building among other goals. Some examples of sustainable practices used in the project:
- Revitalizes a significant but struggling urban area.
- Salvaged 760,000 gross square feet of materials from landfills. (To construct a new building the on a greenfield site, that is equivalent in scope, would likely require over 39,000 tons of new material and operational use of 30 acres of undeveloped land).
- Located where there is availability to multi-modal transportation options, such as Amtrak, bus lines, bicycle storage within the building itself, and community amenities within walking distance.
This adaptive re-use project allows a significant Art Deco building to maintain its presence while providing a new and appropriate use of the structure. The Taubman Center has the ability to attract and infuse the creative engine that is often seen as a requirement for revitalizing urban areas.
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