Renaissance Center

The Renaissance Center is a skyscraper complex located in Downtown Detroit, Michigan. It is composed of 7 interconnected skyscrapers that line the Detroit skyline on the International Riverfront area of the city. Its more notable structures are the central tower, the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center and the GM world headquarters. The Renaissance Center is considered as the tallest building in Michigan.

Renaissance Center Profile

The Renaissance Center is composed of 7 skyscrapers built together to form a complex of office buildings, hotels and a shopping complex as well as banks and brokerage firms. The skyscrapers are interconnected and are suitably termed as a city within a city for its various functional spaces. It houses the tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center and the largest rooftop restaurant, the Coach Insignia.

Renaissance Center History

The idea for the Renaissance Center was first conceived by Henry Ford II. It was developed in order to revitalize the economy in the city as well as stimulate the building activity in the area. It was also primarily financed by the Ford Motor Company and during 1971, was the world’s largest private development at a cost of US$500 million.

The first phase of the construction was done in 1971. The first tower was completed and opened in July 1, 1976. It was followed by the central tower, which opened in 1977 and became the Western International Detroit Plaza Hotel. Other buildings of the complex followed suit in the succeeding years.

Renaissance Center Features

The principal design for the Renaissance Center was done by architect John Portman. The original design called for a construction of a five tower rosette that rises from a common base. Four 39-story towers surround a 73-story central tower which rises from a square shaped podium composed of office and retail spaces. The Renaissance Center follows a modernist design architecture that provides a certain balance to the city’s panoramic riverfront skyline.

GM Motors, who purchased the complex in 1996, conducted a US$500 million renovation of the complex that included the construction of the five-story Wintergarden atrium, a covered walkway, and a makeover of the hotel. The renovation was completed in 2003.

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