Art and glass: MVRDV designs the mural into detroit

In Pictures:

flood-proof design

MVRDV has unveiled its latest project, the characteristically bold Glass Mural in Detroit. We look at how the project is designed to reflect the street art of the area.


2011, the annual NBS BIM Report recorded BIM adoption at just 13%, with 43% unaware of the technology’s potential. Today, based on a survey of more than 1,000 industry professionals, some 73% of firms are now using BIM, while just 1% are unsure of what it offers.

While BIM has helped to improve communication and collaboration between stakeholders, there is still room for improvement. According to a recent survey conducted by the Institute of Civil Engineers and ALLPLAN, organisations face a variety of issues when using BIM, including unexpected design changes (55%), exchanging information between parties (45%), and incompatible software (43%).

These problems are, in part, caused by the wide range of software available – according to Newforma’s The State of Technology: AEC Firms report, there are seven BIM applications frequently used across thearchitecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, and many more niche tools. While an architectural firm involved in a project may work in Revit, the structural engineer may prefer to use Tekla, and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineers may use Navisworks, which causes issues to arise when sharing files.


New York City, US

Architects: Bjarke Ingels Group

The third mixed-use project designed by MVRDV in the US, Glass Mural’s starring feature is its custom glass façade, which integrates bold comic-like murals by artists Sheefy McFly and DENIAL.

Located in the Eastern Market neighbourhood of Detroit, it will house 3,716 square metres of office and retail space.

Designed to provide a striking focal point for the area, it is intended to celebrate the area’s street art, and takes inspiration from the area’s nearby market hall.

It replaces a brick building currently featuring a mural by locally based DENIAL, which will be reproduced on the new structure.

According to MVRDV, this will “visually preserve this artwork by recreating the mural and brick pattern on a new canvas made of glass – combining a larger version of the mural with images of the building’s brick pattern as a single image, stretched around all four sides of the building”.

“We loved the idea of the artworks that bring this area to life, and this building is our tribute to this character, eternalised through a printing technique,” said the architects. “It allows us to interact with the spirit of the neighborhood in a way that is playful and unexpected. Our decision to do so with glass is also practical, as it allows us to incorporate windows to become a part of the artwork, not an obstacle for artists to work around.”