SHoP Architects' plans for Hudson's Detroit site move forward
Hudson's Site Development by SHoP Architects

SHoP Architects' plans for Hudson's Detroit site move forward

Detroit has approved the timeline for SHoP Architects' replacement for the historic Hudson's department store, which will begin construction in December and become the city's tallest building.

The mixed-used complex by New York-based SHoP Architects and local firm Hamilton Anderson Associates will encompass the site at 1206 Woodward Avenue, in the heart of Downtown Detroit.

The plans for the Hudson's site include a nine-storey building for retail, conference facilities and offices that will fill the city block, as well as a chimney-like residential tower that will rise 52 storeys to 734 feet (224 metres) tall – overtaking the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center.

Hudson's Site Development by SHoP Architects

Renderings released by developer Bedrock show the structures clad in glass panels, which will be arranged into scale-like patterns across the lower volume.

Angled slices in the facades will curve inward to form entrances into the complex, which will lead to a large atrium at its core. Shops, offices and other facilities will spiral around this central space like a whirlpool, with the glazed tower rising from one corner.

"The driving force behind our design for the Hudson's site is to create a building that speaks to the rebirth of optimism in the city's future and an experiential destination that positively impacts Detroit in a meaningful way," said SHoP principal William Sharples.

Hudson's Site Development by SHoP Architects

"The building is conceived around a huge and inspiring new public space, a year-round civic square that, both in its architecture and its culture, will foster and convey the feeling we all share when we work together to imagine what this great city can become."

The site's previous occupant was the J L Hudson Building, known colloquially as Hudson's, designed by Smith, Hinchman, & Grylls and built in the early 20th century – during the Motor City's heyday.

"For long-time Detroiters, we remember what Hudson's represented," said Bedrock founding partner Dan Gilbert. "It wasn't just a department store – it was the economic engine of Detroit."

Hudson's Site Development by SHoP Architects

The store closed in 1983, as the city went into decline, and the building was eventually demolished between 1997 and 1998.

Permission was granted to rebuild on the two-acre (0.8-hectare) site in 2013, and the Downtown Development Authority gave the go-ahead for a December 2017 groundbreaking last month.

It is hoped that the development will help continue Detroit's regeneration, following major economic and demographic decline across the city in recent decades – caused by the departure of automobile production.

Hudson's Site Development by SHoP Architects

"Our goal is to create a development that exceeds the economic and experiential impact even Hudson's had on the city," said Gilbert. "We believe this project is so unique that it can help put Detroit back on the national – and even global – map for world-class architecture, talent attraction, technology innovation and job creation."

SHoP Architects is working on projects across the US, from Uber's headquarters in San Francisco to a supertall tower in Brooklyn. The firm currently holds claim to the world's tallest modular high-rise, and has proposed New York's tallest timber-framed building.