LUKE BUILDING, Royal Oak, Michigan

 A fire on Thanksgiving weekend claimed the original building on this site.  One block north of Royal Oak’s popular downtown, the old building was the model of early 20th century development, with first floor commercial space and living space above.  The owner desired to maintain that ideal as well as include a small area to enjoy his passion for gardening.  As with any urban site, challenges included modern zoning requiring parking, setbacks, and height restrictions, as well as tight working space and applying a modern building code to an historic building type.  Our solution involved placing the building 15’ from the south property line to create a landscaped garden courtyard and allowing unlimited windows facing south.  Creative application of the building code provided three stories of building in the allowed two story-building envelope.

The completed building provides office and retail space at grade and two large loft apartments above.  The building is modern but the scale, proportion and selection of materials, clearly nods to the past.