April 26, 2024

When Detroit was imploding buildings, Michigan architects had another idea: Save them

It was Oct. 24, 1998, and business partners Michael Poris and Douglas McIntosh of McIntosh Poris Architects weren’t feeling good about the controlled explosion that had just leveled the massive and empty J.L. Hudson store building in downtown Detroit. Not simply for the resulting dust cloud that enveloped blocks, or the structural debris that rained down on the nearby People Mover track, forcing it out of commission for the rest of the year. But rather for the loss of a unique and historic downtown building — once the largest department store in the world — that, in the young architects’ assessments, could have been preserved and adaptively reused with some design ingenuity and enough motivation.

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