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Detroit Bows a Splashy Spin on Parking

Monday, October 13, 2014

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Parking in downtown Detroit? Allow a little extra time—not for the traffic, but for the art. Ten stories of it.

Wheel on in to The Z, a 1,300-space, 10-story parking structure in downtown Detroit that serves as a massive canvas for floor after floor of original artwork by 27 international artists.

Photos: Bedrock Real Estate

Walls of the 10-story parking garage called The Z display original works by 27 international artists.

The Z, which opened earlier this year, was built over old surface lots by Bedrock Real Estate Services, owned by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert. The project team included Neumann/Smith Architecture and a Detroit-based joint venture called Colasanti/Sachse.

The project features the latest in parking technology: ticketless/cashless parking and QR code validation, charging stations for electric cars, badge access for monthly parkers and customizable digital signage.

Out-of-the-box lighting designs and colors transform the structure inside and out.

The Z may be the first parking garage ever to merit its own brief documentary.

The 535,000-square-foot structure includes 33,000 square feet of street-level retail space that has already begun attracting tony tenants.

Joel Smith, of Neumann/Smith, said the firm had been aiming for "a creative way to bring a presence to an otherwise mundane building type.”

TheZ The Z

Patrons of the 1,300-space structure in downtown Detroit are unlikely to forget on which level they parked.

And so it has. Served by a glass elevator core, the boldly colored structure has become an art installation unto itself.

The designers call it "one of Detroit's largest and most intriguing collection[s] of street art, in a completely unexpected 'gallery.'"

As one artist said, "In The Motor City, it's kind of fitting to drive into the art gallery. You know what I mean?"


The architect wanted "a creative way to bring a presence to an otherwise mundane building type.”



Tagged categories: Architecture; Artists; Commercial Construction; Murals; Parking Garages; Retail

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (10/13/2014, 8:20 AM)

Having street-level retail for parking garages makes a LOT of sense to me. It always bugs me when I see prime downtown streetfront being wasted on some ugly parking. Put the cars upstairs.

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