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 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 options for a flexible floor plan that could supports restaurant seating, a farmer’s market, musical performances and a community meeting room.
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 integration between complex structural, mechanical and programming coordination.
The exterior building materials are innovative combinations of sapele mahogany wood, metal panels, precast concrete, and a flexible glass storefront. The interior building materials were chosen for their warmth, durability and sustainability. The walls, in order to enhance the interior/exterior relationship, were skinned with the same sapele mahogany wood. The interior ceiling system includes undulating wood louvers system below acoustic stretch panels that integrate concealed down lights, linear diffusers, sprinklers, and an extensive sound system. The acoustic fabric panels not only support flexibility for different programming of indoor/outdoor events, but also provide scale and materiality for an intimate and acoustically inviting environment.
Overall, the park and restaurant is designed to be an equitable social space for use by all. By providing adaptable spaces with urban connections, the building is able to engage the park users and promote connectivity between the vendor and the local community.