'glass mural' by MVRDV will preserve and promote the street art of detroit

'glass mural' by MVRDV will preserve and promote the street art of detroit

MVRDV has revealed plans for ‘glass mural’, a one-of-a-kind, four-storey office and retail building located in detroit’s eastern market neighborhood. situated just outside the city’s downtown core, the plot is currently occupied by a brick building that features a mural by artist DENIAL. the project seeks to visually preserve this artwork by recreating the mural and brick pattern on a new canvas made of glass. this involves combining a larger version of the mural with images of the building’s brick pattern as a single graphic, stretched around all four sides of the building.

MVRDV glass mural detroit
all images © MVRDV



MVRDV’s design for the building comprises a stack of shifting blocks, which becomes a canvas to build upon the area’s vibrant and creative character. above DENIAL’s work on the first block, the second block will present a newly commissioned mural by sheefy mcfly. the building will make use of cutting-edge glass printing techniques to combine the colorful artworks with areas of transparency, providing windows for the shops and offices inside. unlike the other glass façades, the third block will feature a ‘flat façade finish’ to create a canvas that will be ever-changing. it will provide an opportunity for different artists to come and paint murals.

MVRDV glass mural detroit



‘we loved the idea of the artworks that bring this area to life, and this building is our tribute to this character, eternalized through a printing technique,’ says winy maas, founding partner at MVRDV. ‘it allows us to interact with the spirit of the neighborhood in a way that is playful and unexpected. our decision to do so with glass is also practical, as it allows us to incorporate windows to become a part of the artwork, not an obstacle for artists to work around. that enables a greater level of faithfulness to the original artwork that will be recreated, as well as greater artistic freedom for the new artwork.’

MVRDV glass mural detroit



the glass façades will be produced using digital ceramic printing. MVRDV previously used the technology for its 2013 project ‘glass farm’, where an image of a typical dutch farmhouse was enlarged and printed onto the exterior of a new building in the netherlands. operationally, ‘glass mural’ will have a ground-level retail storefront, with three floors of offices dispersed throughout the two primary glass blocks. the third block will house circulation cores and access to the roof deck, which will be a fully occupiable amenity for office tenants.



MVRDV’s selection was the result of a collaborative effort between the client FIRM real estate and architecture talent agency, a detroit-based company that represents international architecture and design firms for new projects. L.S. brinker, a detroit-based minority-owned construction management business, will be the project’s contractor. the first stage of the scheme commenced on september 30, 2020, with construction set to start in 2021.

'glass mural' by MVRDV will preserve and promote the street art of detroit



project info:


name: glass mural
location: detroit, MI
architect: MVRDV
client: FIRM real estate
contractor: L.S. brinker
status: construction set to begin in 2021

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999