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GM Renaissance Center, Detroit

#17 of 124 in Things to do in Detroit
Observation Deck · Architectural Building
The Renaissance Center (also known as the GM Renaissance Center and nicknamed the RenCen) is a group of seven connected skyscrapers in Downtown Detroit, Michigan, United States. The Renaissance Center complex is on the Detroit International Riverfront and is owned by General Motors as its world headquarters. The central tower, the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, is the third tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. It has been the tallest building in Michigan since it was erected in 1977.

John Portman was the principal architect for the original design. The first phase consisted of a five-tower rosette rising from a common base. Four 39-story office towers surround the 73-story hotel rising from a square podium which includes a shopping center, restaurants, brokers, and banks. The first phase officially opened in March 1977. Portman's design brought renewed attention to city architecture, since it resulted in construction of the world's tallest hotel at the time. Two additional 21-story office towers (known as Tower 500 and Tower 600) opened in 1981. This type of complex has been termed a city within a city.

In 2004, General Motors completed a US$500 million renovation of the Class-A center as its world headquarters, which it had purchased in 1996. The renovation included the addition of the five-story Wintergarden atrium, which provides access to the International Riverfront. Architects for the renovation included Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Gensler, SmithGroup, and Ghafari Associates. Work continued in and around the complex until 2005. Renaissance Center totals 5,552,000 square feet (515,800 m2) making it one of the world's largest commercial complexes.
In July 2015, the complex was re-branded as "The GMRENCEN." Its logo was modernized and "Reflecting a New Detroit" was introduced as the new tagline. A photo-journalistic advertising campaign launched to "shine a spotlight on the people in Detroit who make remarkable contributions" to the city.

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552 reviews
  • This is an awesome imposing building. I love it. More poured and molded concrete please lol. Get lost in it's disturbingly calm atmosphere, unsettling yet enjoyable.  more »
  • This place feels like an M.C. Escher painting come to life except 100 years in the future. Almost everything is round, offices are floating over the lobby in open pods, there are walkways and...  more »
  • This place is in the core of the city on the edge of bridge to canada. I went there to see all the special edition cars that GM has and masterpieces. Also they have represented the technology that they use in the sports cars. They have many cars to click a picture with. I really like the Chevy truck that they have made out of mine craft blocks. Tip: Best place to hop on to the People carrier and have a visit of the city and downtown.
  • Everytime I visit Detroit I have to stumble here. It's just an iconic part of the city. You can walk around and explore on your own. It's always nice to see the vintage cars on display as well as the upcoming new vehicles General Motors has to offer.

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