Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business
Wayne State University (WSU) made a commitment to Detroit’s future by bringing students closer to the city’s core by locating its new Mike Ilitch School of Business in the District Detroit. Sitting between WSU’s main campus and downtown Detroit, this building connects students to the business opportunity while availing downtown executives of the school’s learning resources.
Located at such a focal point meant that SmithGroup’s design of the building had to be every bit as dynamic as the location itself. The main facade along Woodward Avenue is an elegant glass curtain wall punctuated with two balconies over the entrance. A stone-paneled bracket extends up and cantilevers over the building to shelter a rooftop terrace facing the avenue and offering dramatic views. The building is U-shaped, creating a central courtyard that provides a green space for its residents and visitors.
With most of the building's learning spaces facing Woodward Avenue, and with the location of a Q-Line station adjacent to the building, the frequent night classes are on full display to the city. The building was intentionally designed to be a testament to a city on an economic upswing through local innovation and entrepreneurship but also grounded in the rich business history of which the Ilitch family is a key factor.
The building uses glass and crisp forms to express modern ideals while expressing the stately and distinguished tradition of business education with the use of limestone and formal entries. A variety of multi-functional interior spaces plays host to local business community events ranging from round table discussions to innovation seminars and formal product launches.
SmithGroup’s design in conjunction with Olympia Development and Wayne State University’s vision, has brought a new element to The District Detroit that will continue to push forward the resurgence of the city.