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Resident Architect Beautifies the City with Recycled Materials

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This post authored by Alexis Zimberg.

You might recognize Virtuoso Design + Build's Mark Klimkowski recycled style from the exposed lobby dividers at D:hive, the wood façade at LJ's Lounge, or the 5th floor Boydell loft redesign above Niki's Pizza. The hometown architect's industrial piping/ salvaged wood style matches flawlessly, it seems, the collective feel and vision of Detroit's entrepreneurial and residential wave. This summer was a busy one for Klimkowski and, in honor of the changing seasons, Curbed put together a little round-up of his season in the city.
Klimkowski is making his way through the City of Detroit, bringing beauty to shadowed public spaces. In a Woodbridge backyard, Klimkowski was commissioned to build a visually porous fence of re-appropriated cedar, complete with seating insets-slash-planters fashioned from found concrete. The horizontal design contrasts our concept of a fence as a nontransparent suburban barrier. South of Michigan Avenue this week, the architect custom built an industrial-and-raw looking Corktown loft staircase with recycled lumber and magnetic metal siding. The design gives the resident access to the extra 250 square feet of living space in the lofted studio area without resorting to a juvenile dorm ladder or your parents' clunky staircase.

In Highland Park, developer Distributed Power hired Virtuoso Design + Build to fashion a solar pavilion and a renovation of Highland Park Community High School's atrium (newly charterized). The space is designed as an outdoor classroom where students can learn about localized energy and food production. In an abandoned lot across the street from the Distributed Power Headquarters at 116 Candler in Highland Park, Klimkowski designed "Recycle Kingdom," which is literally a playground kingdom of used tire dragons and a reclaimed fence board castle with a recycled concrete path.

Keeping busy, Klimkowski is currently designing the rooftop patios at Springfield Lofts in Midtown (which will consist of sheet metal walls that weave between metal fence posts), recovering business fronts across Southwest Detroit for the Southwest Detroit Business Association, and completely renovating a 1920 tudor home on the city's west side at the corner of Oakman Boulevard and Tireman. The renovation's material palette is based on local lumber finds -- mahogany purchased at the corner of 75 and 7 Mile Road -- copper, and pewabic tiles. If Klimkowski keeps this up, the City of Detroit will start to look like his Highland Park woodshop. We think that is not necessarily a bad thing.

· A Detroit Architect's DIY Loft in the Boydell Building [Curbed Detroit]
· D:hive Shows Off a Renovated Welcome Center [Curbed Detroit]
· Virtuoso Design + Build [Virtuoso Design + Build]

D:hive Welcome Center

1253 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48226