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Frieze Building Officially Closed, demolition prep begins.


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Back of the Frieze Building.

I walked past the Frieze building today and noticed that there were signs on the doors declaring the building as permanently closed. Asbestos removal is set to begin, and eventually the building will be demolished to make way for a new 9-10 story residence hall. I'm mixed on the issue of its demolition. The building is in rough shape, but you can't ignore it's beautiful Beaux Arts facade. The building will be demolished to make way for a new residence hall.

After a preliminary rendering was released and bombed due to huge public criticism, the University chose a second architect, Robert AM Stern who does remarkable work. If you have seen his recently finished Ford School of Public Policy, you would know. So on the other hand, I'm looking forward to seeing what will go up here.

Here's a few samples of some residence halls he has done:






"Robert A.M. Stern Architects is a 220-person firm of architects, landscape architects, interior designers, and supporting staff. Our firm's practice is premised on the belief that the public is entitled to buildings that do not, by their very being, threaten the aesthetic and cultural values of the buildings around them. We do not believe that any one style is appropriate to every building and every place. We do believe in the continuity of tradition and strive in our work to create order out of the often chaotic present by entering into a dialogue with the past and with the spirit of the places in which we build."


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I agree. The building is definitely a nice example of Beaux Arts style (the main facade on State and the old library portion on Huron), but the building is probably in too bad condition to make a restoration/addition feasible and a facade-ctomy is usually a poor compromise.

The Stern design for the PP building is quite nice (I actually like well executed Collegiate Gothic), but I know there are going to be the architecture academics that may cry "not of our time", whatever that means. ;)

Do you know if the building footprint will encroach or completely use the greenspace between the Frieze bulding and the Rackham building?

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The greenspace was donated to the university and cannot be built upon. I know it has been an issue though.

I agree that there will probably be some criticism. I recall an article in the daily about how the new res hall should represent architecture of the present or future. But I think there is room for all types. The new biomedical building is a superb example of new and innovative architecture and the use of new technologies in building design. The wallgreen drama center, ATL building, and Computer Science building are great examples as well. We have the whole future ahead of us. Hopefully they will realize that diversity in architecture is just as great. Personally, I think Stern's architecture is timeless. It's based on classical order which has existed for millenia. It would be a crime against the whole history of architecture to let 50 years of building to obliterate this type of design.

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Here's the Daily article from last spring which shows a rendering that the regents were to vote on. They voted against it obviously since a new architect has been chosen. Way back I had posted a massive scan of the new reshall. It's somewhere buried in the Detroit section if anyone is ambitious enough to search for it.


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^ You speak the truth. In fact, that was the first time I had ever seen that service courtyard. I never knew it even existed which is why I photographed it. That courtyard is only accessible through a 15 foot opening.

You know what I always thought would be cool...

If a bunch of people wanted to save the facades, and another group wanted a brand new modern residence hall, I think there is a way to satisfy both conditions. First off, spare the front facades, but have them on the inside of the building. Essentially, a sort of circulation corridor could be created between the old facade, and say a glass wall which would be the exterior. Remember that first few levels are supposed to be public, with the upper levels as private rooms.

This would be something like Hearst Tower in NYC, excpet maybe just a bit more blended.

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It's hard to tell. I thought they were going to begin soon with the signs on the door, but there isn't even a fence up. I walked around the building today, and even climbed the fire escapes up to the roof. I didn't want to go inside though, I want to graduate first :lol: But anyway the lights are still on inside.

I'm guessing it's going to take sometime, since portions of the building are to be saved.

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