Henry Ford Health System


Henry Ford Innovation Institute

Detroit, Michigan

9,050 GSF, 840 M2

Architecture, Engineering, Interior Architecture, Lighting Design, Programming

Award of Merit, IES Illumination Awards, Section Award -- Interior Lighting Design, IES Illumination Awards, Construction Excellence 2011 Award Gold Prize for Renovation

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“The combination of modern architectural elements with existing classic features inspires us to remember what we have learned, and what we strive for the future. It's awesome!”

—Dr. Scott Dulchavsky, McClure Chairman of Surgery and Surgeon in Chief


The Innovation Institute, the flagship of Henry Ford Health System's commitment to innovation in patient care and research, provides think-tank space for developing new medical products and techniques through multidisciplinary collaboration, translational research and advanced technology. But before work could begin, a complete renovation of the chosen location was needed.

SmithGroupJJR took on the renovation of the second floor of the Old Education Building on Henry Ford's main hospital campus in downtown Detroit, originally designed in 1925 by Albert Kahn. The space had seen many renovations, but still had the original woodwork, a grand marble staircase, intricate crown moldings and barrel-vaulted ceiling. The design team was challenged to meet the institute's needs while uncovering and preserving the building's history.

The design adhered to this mission while introducing a contemporary, state-of-the-art environment to enhance idea-generation and inspire its users. The main space is programmed to be entirely flexible, allowing up to ten separate teams to work on projects simultaneously under a sweeping, sculptural wood ceiling that dramatizes but does not detract from the building's history.

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