DETROIT — Detroit Music Hall, a beloved cultural institution at the epicenter of Detroit’svibrant performing arts scene for 96 years, is thrilled to announce an ambitious expansion project designed by renowned architects, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (TWBTA). Conceived as a central, accessible hub for music programming, production, education and connectivity, this $122 million project heralds a new era of cultural enrichment for downtown Detroit and the region.
At seven stories and 100,000 SF, the Music Hall expansion is the culmination of an extensive 2023 feasibility study. The multipurpose music center will occupy the lot adjacent to the classic 1928 Music Hall — a landmarked facility in the heart of downtown Detroit at the corner of Brush and Madison. The new facility will feature a state-of-the-art concert hall, a recital hall, recording and practice studios, leasable office space for industry professionals, and a public welcome center offering box office access to arts and cultural programming across the city. With a projected opening in the fall of 2026, the new expansion is a response to extremely fast-growing demand for music programming and timed to provide the crucial cultural component to the city’s renaissance, driving demand for an authentic Detroit music experience and driving regional and global tourism.
On this momentous announcement, Vince Paul, President and Artistic Director of Detroit Music Hall says, “The expansion will welcome the world to Detroit. Through this new development, we honor our musical legends and create opportunity for the music legends of tomorrow. This portal to the people not only engages our community, but will encourage tourists from all over the world to visit and celebrate their musical heroes.”
The expansion is conceived to embody Detroit’s vibrant musical lineage and to act as a canvas to express the energy and creativity for which the city is globally recognized. Drawing inspiration from Detroit’s contrasting urban vitality from day to night, the building’s exterior will include a perforated metal rainscreen/sunscreen adorned with shimmering metallic accents that together express the liveliness, movement, and play of performance. The exterior textures and materials are meant to reflect natural light by day, and will be illuminated at night by customizable, colorful, low light LEDs.
At the heart of the building is a 24,000 SF state-of-the-art concert venue that extends the capacity of the existing Music Hall by 1,900 seats. In addition, the new Music Hall Center will feature an 1,800 SF, 200-seat flex-use recital hall with lush, sophisticated finishes. Clad in sculptural wood panels and filled with diffused natural light through an enlarged window looking west, this double-height room is a distinctive inspiring space for dance, acoustic and amplified performances, lectures, and an array of other programs.
The building’s design will be crowned by a chamfered floating canopy, cantilevered over the sidewalks and alleyway and casting light upon the levels below. Enclosed aerial walkways will bridge the gap between the historic Music Hall and the new Music Hall Center — physically and symbolically connecting the rich legacy of the original building to the visionary new structure. The 4000 SF alley between the two buildings will become part of the new urban fabric of the city, activated by generous outdoor seating, areas for public performances and art installations, and spaces for the community to gather, day and night.
“The experience of growing up in and around Detroit has followed and influenced me throughout my life and career,” says Tod Williams, Founding Partner / Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. “It is a tremendous gift for our studio and team to work with Vince Paul, the Music Hall staff, Board, and our excellent contractor Barton Malow, among many others, on this once-in-a-lifetime project at the heart of downtown’s cultural corridor. By doubling its capacity and amplifying its activity and offerings, Music Hall will be an unparalleled destination and a spectacular asset for Detroit’sfuture.”
Fulfilling its educational promise to the community, Music Hall Center will house a world class music academy, ensuring the city’s continued prominence as a leading training ground for remarkable musicians, composers, and artists. This work builds upon Music Hall’s decades of service to Detroit students as a provider of performing arts instruction, with some 5,000 students currently enrolled.
On the top level of the new building, sheltered by three covered outdoor terraces along the building’s edges, visitors will enjoy a rooftop restaurant and breathtaking views of the downtown skyline and the cultural corridor along Madison toward Grand Circus Park, as well as experience the liveliness spilling over from Ford Field and Comerica Park.
Funding for MHC is built on a base of $80 million in tax-exempt 501(c)3 bonds, issued by the Economic Development Corp., a public authority of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. Lanard Ingram, director of public relations for the DEGC, says, “For over a century, Music Hall has been a cultural pillar in Detroit. With its proposed expansion, it will educate future generations, nurture local talent and host a variety of events. The expansion will also create construction and permanent jobs and possibly spur development in the surrounding area.” The project is expected to create 446 new jobs, nearly a hundred new contracts for independent vendors, and over 5,000 artist opportunities.
For more information and updates, please visit musichallcenter.org.
About Detroit Music Hall
The historic Music Hall, through its presentations and productions, provides Southeastern Michigan with high quality performing arts programs and education that reflect the diverse mix of cultures that make up our community. Music Hall is Detroit’s “People’s Theater”—the place for high quality but non-elitist performing arts and education with an emphasis on dance, theater and music with an emphasis on jazz. Music Hall aims to be the most accessible, inclusive and culturally diverse performing arts institution in the country.
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners is a New York based studio established in 1986 by founding partners Tod Williams & Billie Tsien. Their practice is committed to reflecting the values of non-profit, cultural and academic institutions toward an architecture of enduring vision.
A sense of rootedness, light, texture, detail, and most of all — experience — are at the heart of what they design. Some of their notable public projects include the renovation of David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts NYC, the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, and the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, Chicago.
Over the past three decades, their dedication to this work has been recognized by numerous national and international citations, and in 2013, they were awarded the Architecture Firm Award by the American Institute of Architects. The studio is committed to creating a better world through architecture.
Source: Detroit Music Hall