SmithGroupJJR General Motors Factory One Renovation

Early 20th century industrial factories are quickly disappearing from our collective architectural history. The challenge was to preserve and adapt for use this 30,000 SF Carriage Factory as it represents not only the saving of an American architectural genre but it is the historic birthplace of an American industrial giant. Built over time beginning in 1888, this original wood frame factory has weathered harsh winters and spring floods and was in a state of despair. The exterior was meticulously rebuilt as conservation of the historic fabric of Flint, Michigan’s early industrial era.

Converting this well-worn early factory into a relevant environment became an architectural study of authenticity. The existing interiors, built without much respect for the space, were stripped out exposing the wood joinery and the exterior brick walls. New interventions within the shell complement the original building’s fabrication aesthetic with contrasting materials.