Sustainable Renovations

4444 Second was sustainably rehabilitated between 2008 and 2011. Two goals of the rehabilitation was to reduce its environmental footprint as much as possible and engage the surrounding community in the process. Over 200 volunteers pitched in over that three year period, helping with everything from design of the space and its systems to removing nails from 2x4s and pulling bricks down from windows. With their help, the construction team was able to meet its goal of re-using 75% of the materials found within the building and recycling much of the rest, only throwing away about one and a half dumpsters worth of waste for a 12,500 square foot building. Some notable features of the renovation include:

  • The transformation of the building’s original steam pipes into a new main staircase
  • The incorporation of office doors from Kanners and Patrize, the business that had previously occupied 4444 Second, into our redesign
  • The construction of our 16 foot tall accent wall out of leftover scrap wood from the construction process
  • Exposing the 75 foot long horizontal trusses that support the building (previously covered by a drop ceiling) and cleaning them via walnut blasting
  • Construction of a wood floor out of fallen oak and ash tree from southeast Michigan
  • The installation of Solatubes throughout the building to bring in abundant natural daylight
  • The installation of super efficient windows and 14 inches of insulation
  • The transformation, in partnership with Motor City Brewing Works, of the neighboring alley into the city of Detroit’s first green alley.

Renovation gallery

To dig deeper into the sustainable rehabilitation of the building, visit our Construction Archives wiki page.

To learn more about the details of the design and systems of the building, please see our As Built pages.