General Motors Renaissance Center – Interiors

Isolated on a drab podium between a 10-lane highway and a river, Detroit’s massive Renaissance Center was a confusing, inward-focused complex. In 1996, SOM was hired to transform the property into a modern headquarters for General Motors.

In addition to its architecture and engineering expertise, SOM utilized its deep interior design capabilities to successfully complete one of the largest and most intricate renovations ever undertaken. Updates included a pedestrian-friendly entrance pavilion, a spectacular new lobby, a new direction-orienting glass circulation ring, and a five-story indoor “winter garden” containing shops and restaurants.

SOM also reconceived the center’s perplexing circulation patterns by adding a suspended pedestrian walkway to provide a direct and secure route between the four office towers. For the 8,000 GM employees who work in the facility, SOM added a library, a mail center, training facilities, a 1,500-seat food court, a GM Museum, and a GM University.