At seven stories and 100,000 square feet, the Music Hall expansion is the culmination of an extensive 2023 feasibility study. The multipurpose music center will occupy the lot adjacent to the classic 1928 Music Hall — a landmarked facility in the heart of downtown Detroit at the corner of Brush and Madison. The new facility will feature a concert hall, a recital hall, recording and practice studios, leasable office space for industry professionals, and a public welcome center offering box office access to arts and cultural programming across the city. With a projected opening in the fall of 2026, the new expansion is a response to fast-growing demand for music programming and timed to provide the cultural component to the city's renaissance, driving regional and global tourism.
"The expansion will welcome the world to Detroit," said Vince Paul, President and Artistic Director of Detroit Music Hall. "Through this new development, we honor our musical legends and create opportunity for the music legends of tomorrow. This portal to the people not only engages our community, but will encourage tourists from all over the world to visit and celebrate their musical heroes."
Drawing inspiration from Detroit's contrasting urban vitality from day to night, the building's exterior will include a perforated metal rainscreen/sunscreen adorned with metallic accents. The exterior textures and materials are meant to reflect natural light by day and will be illuminated at night by customizable, colorful, low light LEDs.
At the heart of the building is a 24,000-square-foot concert venue that extends the capacity of the existing Music Hall by 1,900 seats. In addition, the new Music Hall Center will feature an 1,800-square-foot, 200-seat flex-use recital hall. Clad in sculptural wood panels and filled with diffused natural light through an enlarged window looking west, this double-height room is a space for dance, acoustic and amplified performances, lectures, and an array of other programs.
The building's design will be crowned by a chamfered floating canopy, cantilevered over the sidewalks and alleyway and casting light upon the levels below. Enclosed aerial walkways will bridge the gap between the historic Music Hall and the new Music Hall Center — physically and symbolically connecting the legacy of the original building to the new structure. The 4,000-square-foot alley between the two buildings will become part of the new urban fabric of the city, activated by outdoor seating, areas for public performances and art installations, and spaces for the community to gather.
"The experience of growing up in and around Detroit has followed and influenced me throughout my life and career," said Tod Williams, Founding Partner at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. "It is a tremendous gift for our studio and team to work with Vince Paul, the Music Hall staff, Board, and our excellent contractor Barton Malow, among many others, on this once-in-a-lifetime project at the heart of downtown's cultural corridor. By doubling its capacity and amplifying its activity and offerings, Music Hall will be an unparalleled destination and a spectacular asset for Detroit's future."
Music Hall Center will house a music academy, ensuring the city's prominence as a training ground for musicians, composers, and artists. This work builds upon Music Hall's decades of service to Detroit students as a provider of performing arts instruction, with some 5,000 students currently enrolled.
On the top level of the new building, sheltered by three covered outdoor terraces along the building's edges, visitors can enjoy a rooftop restaurant and views of the downtown skyline and the cultural corridor along Madison toward Grand Circus Park, as well as experience the liveliness spilling over from Ford Field and Comerica Park.
Funding for MHC is built on a base of $80 million in tax-exempt 501(c)3 bonds, issued by the Economic Development Corp., a public authority of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.Lanard Ingram, Director of Public Relations for the DEGC, said, "For over a century, Music Hall has been a cultural pillar in Detroit. With its proposed expansion, it will educate future generations, nurture local talent, and host a variety of events. The expansion will also create construction and permanent jobs and possibly spur development in the surrounding area." The project is expected to create 446 new jobs, nearly 100 new contracts for independent vendors, and over 5,000 artist opportunities.