McIntosh Poris Associates’ Hospitality Projects Lauded With Several Awards

Detroit’s New Luxury Hotel and Upscale Steakhouse Recognized for Historic Preservation and Design


The Detroit Foundation Hotel and Prime + Proper, both designed by McIntosh Poris Associates, celebrated for thoughtful renovation and design excellence. (L-R) Detroit Foundation Hotel (photo: Joe Vaughn); Prime + Proper (photo: Michelle & Chris Gerard). Click here for high-resolution images.

DETROIT: The Detroit Foundation Hotel and Prime + Proper—both designed by McIntosh Poris Associates—have been honored with several awards for historic preservation and design excellence. The renovation of the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters and adjacent Pontchartrain Wine Cellars into the new 100-key Detroit Foundation Hotel has been recognized with this year’s Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation, Michigan Historic Preservation Network’s Historic Preservation Award in the Building category, and AIA Michigan’s Honor Award in the Building category. In addition, Prime + Proper’s reinterpretation of classic steakhouse traditions with modern luxury garnered AIA Michigan’s Honor Award in the Interior category.

Detroit Foundation Hotel
The Detroit Foundation Hotel embraces the city’s past while celebrating its promising future. The $28-million project embraces a “Detroit State of Mind” to welcome both visitors and locals with an authentic sense of place. To maintain the character of both buildings, McIntosh Poris Associates repaired and restored the existing façades. The 1929 firehouse’s decorative terra cotta panels sporting firehouse themes were restored, replaced, cleaned, and maintained, while the original fire-engine red doors have been restored and reused to maintain the buildings’ identity.

Due to the five-foot floor height difference between the historic buildings, McIntosh Poris Associates planned a variation of spaces throughout the hotel with 55 room types and spatial surprises. Historically relevant materials have been reused from the former Fire Department Headquarters, as well as from Detroit, to pay homage to the past within a contemporary design context. The architects worked with Architectural Salvage Warehouse Detroit to inventory, reclaim, and repurpose interior wood floors, trim, and millwork from the building, as well as salvaged materials from other buildings throughout the city.

“Our historical structures and archaeological sites contribute to our economy and our identity as a state, and tell us and others who we are as a people,” said Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who recognized McIntosh Poris Associates and other project team members—Aparium Hotel Group, 21 Century Holdings LLC, Simeone Deary Design Group, Sachse Construction, and Kraemer Design Group PLC—for finding design solutions to a complicated building with challenging spaces.

Upon entering the five-story Neoclassical building through a massive arched, terra cotta-faced portal, guests are transported into a voluminous, story-and-a-half space that once housed the fire engines. Existing glazed bricks celebrate the building’s history, while the new finishes, decorative lighting, and interior architecture add modernity. The hotel’s new restaurant Apparatus Room, situated in the former fire engine hall, uses the building’s origins to the fullest.

Prime + Proper
McIntosh Poris Associates design for Prime + Proper offers a fine dining experience on two floors of a remodeled 1912 building in Detroit’s Capitol Park Historic District. Reflecting the proprietor’s concept of “prime meats and proper service,” the new establishment is arranged into distinctive spaces within the angular L-shaped interior. The main level features a bar area and a 140-seat dining room (with 77 seats outdoors) consisting of booths and banquettes to create intimate spaces for conversation. The open kitchen showcases a custom-built wood-burning grill, glass-enclosed butcher counter, raw seafood bar, pastry station, and wine displays to allow the cuisine to be part of the décor. The mostly black-and-white surroundings are accented with bronze details and rich finishes inspired by Art Deco designs of the past century to convey a luxe atmosphere.

“As textured and marbled as an exquisite cut of meat, Prime + Proper’s rich interiors elevate the dining experience to new levels of comfort and extravagance,” expressed AIA Michigan’s Honor Award jury, who recognizes excellence and diversity of interiors projects.

The dining room furniture and swing-arm lighting are custom designed by the architects, who referenced vintage pieces with a modern feeling. Graphic black-and-white burnout velvet arm chairs, along with leather, hair-on-hide, and chenille upholstered seating are combined with imported ceiling lighting fixtures, marble tiling, and wood flooring to evoke a glamorous setting. A highlight of the restaurant is the 100-year-old grand marble staircase that was restored along with its bronze railing to provide patrons a place for Instagrammable moments. The lower level includes a glass-enclosed, 300-square-foot dry aging room, as well as a special chef’s table with walls lined with protruding butcher blocks.

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 Michigan, New York, and Ontario for private, public, and non-profit clients.