The Development of Detroit’s LOVE Building Begins


A rendering of the love building. IMAGE Courtesy of Justice + Design of Spaces

The LOVE building in Core City at 4731 Grand River Ave becomes a center for social justice organization and community gathering. Allied media projects [AMP] is working on the project in collaboration with Sidewalk Detroit and the Oakland-based non-profit architecture and real estate development organization Designing Justice + Designing Spaces.

Upon completion, AMP will share space in the LOVE building with the Detroit Community Technology Project, Detroit Disability Power, Detroit Justice Center, Detroit Narrative Agency, and Paradise Natural Foods. By sharing the space, the principles gain more opportunities for common organization of social justice and serve as a resource for the surrounding neighborhood.

“The design of the LOVE building reflects and supports the mission of the amazing organizations it houses through the openness of space at all levels to light, accessibility and collaboration,” said Deanna Van Buren, Executive Director and Design Director at Designing Justice + Design rooms. “The architecture of the space reflects the cohesion of the community that it will catalyze: the interior of the building will merge seamlessly with the public space and convey the feeling of coming together at a time when we need it so badly. The LOVE building will serve as a home for social justice organizations doing important work across the city. This is an example of the kind of restorative reinvestment that is badly needed in our communities. “

Over the course of the project, AMP will work with Detroit-based street artist Sintex to recreate his mural Our Land Till Death, which is currently on top of a neighboring building that is about to be demolished. Their press release said they hope to “preserve this important work of art and disrupt the erasure pattern that often comes with development,” and AMP will be working with Sintex to recreate the mural at another location on the LOVE Building property .

Sintex’s mural honors lives lost to police and racist violence in Detroit while highlighting the legacy of the social justice movements, a mural that fits in with the LOVE building’s goal of becoming a center for social justice . The new mural is being edited and created by a team of artists, activists and residents of the surrounding community.

The original mural will also be honored by an upcoming video from Aadizookaan (ADZKN), a multimedia production company that “works with aboriginal knowledge systems.”

As development of the LOVE building progresses, the team is modeling its approach to accessibility to go beyond ADA compliance. The ultimate goal is that the space is usable and welcoming to people with disabilities and others who are often excluded from organizing social justice. An accessibility advisory board will define interior design strategies that relate to furniture, multi-sensory pathfinding, assistive technology, and other aspects.

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Dusty Kennedy