written by:
June 3, 2014
Ideas are forged inside this garage-turned-next gen startup space.
practice space in detroit
Practice Space

“It provides a sense of old and new together, showcasing the opportunity in Detroit,” says Justin Mast, an architect and organizer behind Practice Space. “Development here operates in its own way. People need to figure it out and connect the dots.”

Photo by Catie Newell

1 / 6
Workspace at the Practice Space Incubator
Workspace at the Practice Space Incubator

Broadly speaking, the Practice Space concept rethinks what an incubator does. In contrast to the dominant trend of seeding tech-based startups to revitalize the region’s economic base, Practice Space supports brick-and-mortar concepts, such as coffee shops and grocery stores, with ideas, implementation and design.

Photo by Doug Coombe

2 / 6
Practice Space Exterior
Practice Space Exterior

Mast and his friend and fellow architect Kyle Hoff seized on the concepts of renovation, revitalization, and adaptive reuse when they worked on the layout of Practice Space. Their design approach sought to preserve, highlight, and play off the character of the 3,800-square-foot former garage.

Photo by Kyle Hoff

3 / 6
Metal Curtain at Practice Space
Metal Curtain at Practice Space

Based on the principles of origami and oriented based on the path of the sun, the curtain of triangle-cut, thin-gauge sheet metal creats a contrast of old and new. The addition stands as a visual metaphor for the way Detroit’s past informs future promise.

Photo by Catie Newell

4 / 6
Practice Space
Workspace

Since opening in September 2013, the space has helped catalyze ventures such as 1417 Van Dyke, a live-work concept, and Offworld, an arcade tavern concept that held a pop-up earlier this year.

Photo by Kyle Hoff

5 / 6
Practice Space
Mast and Hoff contrasted the existing features of the space with elements that spoke a more contemporary design language—horizontally stacked plywood, polycarb panels, and steel tubes—adding forward-looking decorations and structural elements.

Photo by Kyle Hoff

6 / 6
practice space in detroit
Practice Space

“It provides a sense of old and new together, showcasing the opportunity in Detroit,” says Justin Mast, an architect and organizer behind Practice Space. “Development here operates in its own way. People need to figure it out and connect the dots.”

Photo by Catie Newell

It looks like a small town mechanic’s shop crossed with a Gehry sketch. But for all the excitement happening on the exterior of Practice Space, a business incubator in Detroit, there’s a lot more going on inside, where new businesses are being built. Visually, the burly, brick wall represents the heft and hustle of Motown, while the metal exterior speaks the same techno-utopian language referenced by the city’s forward-thinking techno producers. In short, Practice Space seems to capture a moment in time in Detroit, when revitalization and retooling offer a new vision for old neighborhoods.

“I had just never realized how exciting Detroit was,” says architect Justin Mast, a University of Michigan graduate who helped design, build, and found Practice Space. “There’s so much underutilized space, so much industrial space, and so many people looking to start new things. Detroit should be the best place for architecture right now.”

Broadly speaking, Practice Space supports brick-and-mortar concepts, such as coffee shops and grocery stores, with ideas, introductions to business mentors, and design. With that mission in mind, Mast and his friend and fellow architect Kyle Hoff seized on the concepts of renovation, revitalization and adaptive reuse when they worked on the layout of Practice Space. Their design approach sought to preserve, highlight and play off the character of the 3,800-square-foot space. Much of the original shop was left intact or adapted to fit the building’s new purpose. The car lift, which they originally wanted to remove, would have eaten up their entire $30,000 renovation budget. Instead, it became a freestanding shelf called the archive, filled with records and resources of previous companies and projects. Mast and Hoff then added elements that spoke a more contemporary design language—horizontally stacked plywood, polycarbonate panels and steel tubes—adding forward-looking decorations and structural elements to the workspace and conference areas.

Since opening in September 2013, the space has helped catalyze ventures such as 1417 Van Dyke, a live-work concept, and Offworld, an arcade tavern concept that held a pop-up earlier this year. Mast wants to continue running the self-funded project through the summer session, and then re-strategize and recalibrate, to figure out whether or not Practice Space graduates to something else.

“It provides a sense of old and new together, showcasing the opportunity in Detroit,” says Mast. “Development here operates in its own way. People need to figure it out and connect the dots.”

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016
amaroso40040
When a garage damaged by termites had to go, a studio emerges.
June 19, 2016
the blue lagoon iceland geothermal spa hotel water visitors
The famed geothermal spa outside Reykjavík, Iceland, is entering a major new phase—paving the way for the area’s first five-star hotel.
June 19, 2016
heaven on earth maya lin topography what is missing california academy sciences wood video
A new monograph by Rizzoli explores the memorial project by the renowned artist.
June 19, 2016
gable game austin texas cantilevered home facade windows upper level car port
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to indoor/outdoor living. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
June 18, 2016
Modern prefab lakeside home in Bloomingdale, New Jersey
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
June 18, 2016
Rectangular bento glass table with compartments.
These top-notch projects by design students earned a spot on our honor roll.
June 18, 2016
bozley all
Jory Brigham picks up his family’s trade and takes it in unexpected directions.
June 17, 2016
ph133407
The outlandish Belgian fashion designer, a member of the iconic Antwerp Six, creates a quirky pattern-filled capsule collection for the Swedish mega-retailer—with a high-tech twist.
June 17, 2016
2016 Triumph Pavilion
A creative take on the classic children's toy.
June 17, 2016
planar and simple chicago farmhouse addition kitchen mutina cabinets tiles pella window kohler faucet
A relaxed interior and radical roof make a home more sociable and energy-efficient.
June 17, 2016
up and away renovation san francisco family room richard wright painting sofa
A couple bring cohesion to an architectural mishmash in San Francisco.
June 17, 2016
new head of its class connecticut renovation summer home facade bleached cedar siding volumes glass bridge
A Connecticut home with a notable architectural legacy gets an expansive update for a family of six.
June 17, 2016
Rockefeller Center filled with cactus during the month of June.
To welcome summer, the plaza at Rockefeller Center transforms into a desert landscape.
June 16, 2016