MVRDV Reveals Glass Mural, an Office and Retail Building in Detroit’s Active Food Hub


MVRDV unveils Glass Mural, an office and retail building in Detroit’s Active Food Hub





MVRDV was hired to design Glass Mural, a new 3,716 square meter office and retail building with a custom glass facade that incorporates colorful murals by artists DENIAL and Sheefy McFly. Located in Detroit’s Eastern Market neighborhood, the project is MVRDV’s third mixed-use project in the United States and the first in the Midwest.


MVRDV has revealed images of Glass Mural, a four-story office and retail building in Detroit. The project was mainly inspired by the existing character of the Eastern Market, the largest public farmers’ market in the United States, and adopts a “colorfully printed glass facade that both celebrates existing murals and brings new art to the region”.

The Glass Mural is just outside the city center, across from the largest and busiest covered market in Eastern Market, at the intersection of Russell and Division Streets. It will replace a two-story brick building that contains a mural by local artist DENIAL. As a new approach to preserving art and memory through architecture and technology, the intervention will “visually preserve this work of art by recreating the mural and brick pattern on a new glass canvas – combining a larger version of the mural with images of the building’s brick pattern is presented as a single image that extends around all four sides of the building ”.


We loved the idea of ​​the artworks that bring this area to life and this building is our homage to that character immortalized through a printing technique. It allows us to interact with the spirit of the neighborhood in playful and unexpected ways. Our decision to do this with glass is also practical as we can incorporate windows to become part of the artwork and not an obstacle for artists to work around them. This allows for a greater degree of fidelity to the original work of art to be recreated, as well as greater artistic freedom for the new work of art. – Tiny Meuse.


The first phase of the project began on September 30, 2020 with the construction of the glass mural in 2021. The stacking of moving blocks creates a canvas that builds on the vibrant and creative nature of the area. Three-level, three-story retail store with offices spread across the two primary glass blocks with permanent works of art. In addition, circulation cores and access to the roof terrace will be housed in the third block.


Coupled with the human scale of Eastern Market, the pads and murals will “use the latest glass printing techniques to combine the colorful artwork with transparent areas and provide windows for the shops and offices inside.” In fact, the glass facades are made using digital ceramic printing. While the first block will do the work of DENIAL, the second block will feature a newly commissioned mural by Sheefy McFly, and the third block will feature a “flat facade surface”, an opportunity for various artists to paint over time .

After all, Glass Mural is a collaboration between MVRDV, FIRM Real Estate and Architecture Talent Agency. The contractor for the project will be LS Brinker Company, a Detroit-based construction management company that is minority owned.


Glass mural

  • Location: Detroit, USA
  • Year: 2020
  • Client: FIRM Real Estate
  • Size and program: 3,716 m2 of office and retail space
  • Architect: MVRDV
  • Responsible founding partner: Winy Maas
  • Partner: Frans de Witte Design team: Fedor Bron, Anouk Wilmering, Daniele Zonta, Sandra Jasionyte, Laura López Iglesias, Viktor Tamm, Fouad Addou, Elina Gaillard Visualizations: Antonio Luca Coco, Pavlos Ventouris, Luca Piattelli, Angelo LaDelfa, Kirill Emelianov, Francesco Vitale, Luana La Martina
  • Co-Architect: Integrated Design Solutions (Jeffrey D. Johnson, Jeffrey J. Zona, Adrian LaTona, Kevin Marshall) MEP: Integrated Design Solutions (Greg Sell, Dave DiCiuccio, Dominic Paome) Civil Engineer: IBI (Robert Aeck) Civil Engineer: PEA (Burke Jenkins ) Contractor: LS Brinker Company (Dwight Hooks, Larry Brinker Jr.) Artists: DENIAL (Daniel Bombardier), Sheefy McFly

Dusty Kennedy