MGM Grand


MGM Grand Detroit Hotel & Casino Complex

Detroit, Michigan

1,200,000 gsf, 112,000 M2


Best Architectural Design for a Casino Resort over $200 Million, Best Overall Interior Design for a Casino Resort, Interior/Exterior Design Company of the Year for a Casino/Resort

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With a prominent location near the expressway at the northwest edge of downtown Detroit, the new MGM Grand Detroit casino had several expectations to fulfill when it opened. It needed to respect and complement Detroit’s renowned 20th-century art deco architecture, while also presenting the excitement and allure of its Las Vegas operator. It needed to make a powerful statement, joining GM World Headquarters, Ford Field/Comerica Park and Cobo Center as the fourth anchor of the downtown. It needed to appeal to a broad demographic, which includes casino visitors and hotel-only guests.

The main façade and tower is purposely oriented toward a downtown theme, giving it a physical and visual relationship to the urban core. Its stone base pays homage to Detroit’s historic architecture, while the tower’s vertical lines of steel and glass add contemporary drama and sophistication. The exterior is slightly evocative of an earlier era—some say a classic car—that appeals to the casino’s key mature demographic, yet also with an energy that attracts a younger clientele. Elaborate ceiling detail adds elegance and provides wayfinding. The heavily landscaped exterior entertains with light, movement and drama. The gardens have become a destination of their own, significantly improving the character of the neighborhood. SmithGroupJJR served as architect of record in a joint venture with Hamilton Anderson.