Detroit Institute of Arts: Renovation and Expansion--page 1 (of 4 pages)

Michael Graves

Google map of entire museum complex

Like the Detroit Public Library by Cass Gilbert, the museum is part of the Cultural Center Historic District in Detroit, originally part of the City Beautiful movement which established the area around Woodward Avenue as the cultural center of the city. Like the Detroit Public Library across the street, this museum is also constructed of white marble in the Beaux-Arts, Italian Renaissance style and like the library, was designed by a prominent early 20th century architect, in this case, Philadelphia master Paul Philippe Cret. The original museum, on the left side of the map (west) faces Woodward Avenue. The south and north wings added in 1966 and 1971 were designed by Gunnar Birkerts and originally faced in black granite--to provide a contrast with the white original structure. In 2007 a renovation and expansion was completed by Michael Graves which included refacing those dark wings with white Vermont Danby marble from the quarry which had supplied the stone for the original Cret building, thus visually uniting the disparate additions. (Admittedly, the earlier marble has weathered so the colors and textures of the marble are different.) The redesign added some new gallery space and museum amenities but in also clarified the axis or "spine" for the museum spaces which to some had seemed labyrinthine. See interior views in additional pages here.

The new entrance to the south


Views of the southwest showing the connection between the original museum and new addition


Views of the northwest showing the connection between the original museum and new addition


Views of the east side

Continue to page 2.

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© 2013 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.