Building an Inclusive Community
The LOVE Building
The LOVE Building
The LOVE Building’s redevelopment, spearheaded by Allied Media Projects, will provide office space for several nonprofit organizations dedicated to social justice issues in Detroit. In collaboration with Designing Justice + Designing Space, we worked closely with the tenants and community members to create a design that supports their shared vision for an “equitable, community-centered, deeply accessible development” that functions as a neighborhood resource.
In addition to the office spaces, a ground-floor retail space will house Paradise Natural Foods, and a multipurpose community room will support a wide range of events. Outdoors, a terrace and a pocket park with amphitheater seating will provide additional community gathering spaces.
The LOVE Building will cultivate liberation, joy, and justice for all Detroiters. It will amplify social justice organizing, nurture creativity, and provide a community space that is inspiring, accessible, and responsive.
The structure known as the LOVE Building was originally constructed as a furniture showroom and warehouse, and was later used for over 20 years as artist studios. During this time, the mural that gives the building its name – depicting silhouettes of four hands spelling out L-O-V-E – was painted on its Grand River Avenue façade.
Partnering for Equity
The LOVE Building’s tenants comprise several progressive nonprofit organizations that had been having trouble finding affordable office spaces in burgeoning Detroit. In addition to Allied Media Projects, they include the Detroit Community Technology Project, Detroit Disability Power, Detroit Justice Center, and Detroit Narrative Agency.
Planning a Social Justice Campus
Our master plan for the LOVE Building and its site establishes parameters for the current building project and the campus’ future growth. It covers buildings, landscape, circulation, sustainability, and infrastructure, all with the goal of supporting tenants’ needs and providing community amenities.
An intensive community engagement process included multiple public workshops and monthly meetings with an 11-member Neighborhood Advisory Council. These interactions informed both the building’s design and an innovative Community Benefits Agreement that outlines LOVE Building tenants’ commitments for public programming and use of the community spaces.
Our design transcends code requirements by striving for truly universal design, where all building users experience the space equally. For example, the elevator is being relocated from the back of the building to the front so that everyone uses the same entrance, and floor height changes will be leveled to eliminate the need for ramps.