The Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center

In 2011, The Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center (TBEIC), a business incubator aimed at the development and commercialization of early-stage energy technologies, investigated sites for their programs. They selected the historic 1924 Kresge Building. Kresge, the predecessor to K Mart, was a “five and dime” chain of stores. The design-build team worked with the client, TBEIC, to design spaces serving the high technology needs of their innovators, while at the same time protecting the historic character of the Kresge store.  The design incorporates a series of small work rooms, training rooms, and offices that float within the original retail space. The original open plan can still be easily read in this approach, while the resulting design provides the types of spaces necessary to accommodate the program. Wayfinding and circulation are enhanced by the use of color and pattern. New elements such as a “gateway” at the bottom of the stairs continue this function and stand in playful contrast to the restored elements of the space, such as the plaster ceilings and a historic corridor.

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