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General Motors Expanding U.S. Design Center

Company readying for mobility design needs.

by on Aug.30, 2017

General Motors is adding 360,000 square feet of new space to its design center in metro Detroit.

General Motors plans to alter the character of its iconic design center by adding a 360,000-square-foot studio expansion on the campus of the GM Technical Center in suburban Detroit.

The expansion is part of $1 billion investment in GM’s Global Technical Center, a National Historic Landmark site, in Warren, Michigan, GM officials said. The expansion will basically encircle the Design Dome designed by Eero Saarinen in the early 1950s and its hidden courtyard with new studios and offices, GM said.

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The new design digs will focus on GM’s future mobility efforts, the company noted.

“We can only begin to predict how mobility will change in future generations,” said Michael Simcoe, vice president of Global Design.

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“Investing in our creative and skilled team and providing them with inspiring, modern spaces, new technologies and more ways to work together will foster innovation that leads to real solutions for customers.”

GM's adding design space to tackle mobility issues coming in the future.

The new expansion also follows the sales of GM’s European Operations to the PSA Group earlier this summer. The design center for GM of Europe had been centered on Opel property in Russelsheim, Germany, outside of Frankfurt. GM has said it is planning to keep a design studio in Europe, though it will be scaled back from the old center in Russelsheim.

Simcoe said GM will break ground in mid-2018 on the new studio building, which will connect to the existing Design Center. A substantial two- to three-year project, the new building’s footprint first requires the completion of a new parking structure currently underway at the southwest corner of the campus.

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GM previously announced the multiyear Technical Center campus investment that includes new construction, significant renovations of some existing facilities and the expansion of some operations. Construction began in May 2015.

Design and construction for GM’s new Design studios is managed by Walbridge, in partnership with SmithGroup JJR, which received an honor award from the American Institute of Architects for its work on the interior renovation of the GM Design Dome and Auditorium in 2014.

The Tech Center campus opened in 1956 and was the pinnacle of engineering, design and advanced technology at the time. Designed by Saarinen and landscape architect Thomas Church, it was named a National Historic Landmark in 2014 by the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service.

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In 2000, the campus was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1986, the American Institute of Architects honored the Tech Center as the most outstanding architectural project of its era.

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