1970s Detroit Building Undergoes Revitalization Into ‘Lush’ Downtown Complex

McIntosh Poris Associates Renovates Precast Concrete Multifamily Building


Updates to City Club Apartments Lafayette Park designed by McIntosh Poris Associates creates illusion of a “tree” in Downtown Detroit. Images courtesy of City Club Apartments. Click here for high-resolution images.

DETROIT: Updates to City Club Apartments Lafayette Park designed by McIntosh Poris Associates will create the illusion of an 18-story “tree” growing in Downtown Detroit.  Originally designed by architect Carl Koch, FAIA (1912-1998), the 1974 multifamily residential building modernization will include 202 reconfigured apartment units and a façade enhanced by abstracted tree imagery.  According to City Club Apartments, the project is part of an effort to rejuvenate Detroit by updating existing buildings in the city.

“This project means a lot to me because Carl Koch was the architect of the prefabricated Techbuilt home I grew up in,” said Michael Poris, AIA, Co-Founding Principal of McIntosh Poris Associates.  “Koch is known as the grandfather of prefab, and it was crucial that we reinvigorate the building’s design to serve the community of Detroit for another 50 years.”

The renovation entails extensive improvements to the building, plaza, and units.  New residential amenities will include a pool and outdoor kitchens.  Existing windows and lights will be replaced with energy-efficient options.  Abstract imagery, scripted onto the façade, will accent the landscape elements of the project.  Within the units, McIntosh Poris Associates reconfigured the living spaces and kitchens while upgrading the finishes and fixtures.  Construction on City Club Apartments Lafayette Park is underway with an expected completion date of March 2021.

“McIntosh Poris Associates is renowned for having more than 25 years of experience revitalizing historic buildings while maintaining and honoring the building’s history,” said Jonathan Holtzman, City Club Apartments CEO.  “We brought McIntosh Poris Associates onto this project because we were impressed with the firm’s body of work and deep understanding of, and passion for, the Detroit market.”

In the early 1970s, City Club Apartments hired Koch—known for his signature “Techcrete” precast concrete modular building system—to design the high-rise, originally named Elmwood Park Plaza.  In addition to its revolutionary design, the building was one of the earlier mixed-use apartment developments in Michigan and included a Detroit Public Library branch, retail, and a Farmer Jack grocery store.  The renovation project will have 20% affordable housing and city tax abatements to curb the displacement of current long-term residents.

McIntosh Poris Associates is responsible for City Club Apartments Lafayette Park’s external renovations and interior architecture of public spaces and units.  Other project team members included BKV Group (interior designer), MIG Construction (general contractor), ETS Sellinger (MEP engineer), ODEH (structural engineer), Novak & Frauss (civil engineer), and Zaremba (landscape architect).

About McIntosh Poris Associates
McIntosh Poris Associates is a full-service architecture, interiors, and urban design firm.  Founded in 1994 by Michael Poris, AIA, and the late Douglas McIntosh, the firm transforms buildings, communities, and urban centers with architecture created through dialogue.  Since 1994, McIntosh Poris Associates has won more than 100 awards for single- and multi-family residential, mixed-use, commercial, hospitality, and arts projects throughout metropolitan Detroit, Michigan, New York, and Ontario for private, public, and non-profit clients.

About City Club Apartments
Founded in 1919, City Club Apartments is the first true international apartment brand.  City Club Apartments is an owner, developer, and manager of apartment, furnished short-term, and penthouse mixed-use communities with a portfolio of approximately 10,000 apartments in 30 urban and suburban-urban apartment communities, $2 billion in real estate assets, and $750 million under development/construction in Cincinnati, Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Louisville, and Cleveland with expansion planned for the East Coast.   City Club Apartments is a disruptive company with five guiding principles that include customer-centric; design-driven; unparalleled amenities; green and social responsibility; and leading technology. The company has offices in Detroit, Chicago, and Toronto.  For more information visit: cityclubapartments.com.