Antoinette Student Housing

The New Amsterdam Historic District in Detroit’s Midtown developed from a commercial corridor mainly in the automobile service and sales sector in the 1920’s to a mixed commercial and educational as well as research district. Wayne State university, Detroit’s premier higher educational institution is the main stake holder here and has been interested to develop several underutilized parcels.  The existing historic context offers the opportunity to re-densify the urban fabric with medium rise residential and mixed-use typologies in form of a perimeter block. The direct neighboring buildings, the Firestone Service Station, (former Wayne State University Book Store) to the east and the former Singer manufacturing building on the west set the historic context which needed to be referenced in proportions, massing, and detail.

Serving the need for student accommodation, the project aims at the ‘missing middle’ of mid-rise, medium density housing, continuing the effort to generate walkable urban spaces. The goal was to achieve a critical density to support a neighborhood identity and the opportunity to offer amenities, generate sustainable social networks and financial viability.

The result is a building with innovative student apartments for two, who can share a kitchen but otherwise have a high level of privacy. The aim was to achieve a relative affordability, while creating a social environment of mutual support and interaction. Several smaller social spaces such as a common kitchen, workspaces, roof terraces and a garden allow for smaller and larger gatherings for various needs, activities, and preferences.

A number of design strategies have been deployed to achieve a cost-efficient construction.  The building has been designed with a generously glazed window wall façade in order to eliminate the traditionally conceived exterior structural wall. The reduction of the façade material to a mere minimum allowed the rooms to gain a maximum of light, fresh air, and a view.

Structurally relevant demising walls are spaced efficiently to eliminate any beams and trusses in the ceilings. This reduced floor-to-floor heights, material cost, envelope area and consequently increased efficiency throughout.

In order to answer to different lifestyles, the seventy units have been designed to offer a variety of living scenarios, from traditional double-loaded corridor to exterior balcony access. Several units have a roof deck, others are on the ground floor. Some are in the quiet part of the building, and some are directly connected the center of the action.

Building Type: Student Housing
Detroit, Michigan, USA
The Platform Detroit
Service: Architectural Design, Interior Design
Floor Area:
64,000 sqft (70 Units)
A part of: Cass & York Mixed Use DevelopmentLot 11 Parking Structure, and Cass & York Sales Gallery

Lars Gräbner, Christina Hansen, Matthew Biglin, Xinying Li

Architect of Record:
McIntosh Poris Associates

Crain's Detroit

The Detroit News

Curbed Detroit