Announcements 09.22.2019

Motown Museum Breaks Ground on First Phase of Expansion

Major milestone coincides with Hitsville USA’s 60th Anniversary

We’re thrilled to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Motown Museum and Hitsville USA with the ceremonial groundbreaking of Phase 1 of the museum’s expansion.

Known as “Hitsville Next,” Phase 1 is a renovation of three historic houses where Barry Gordy, Jr. created his innovative music empire. The houses will host new educational initiatives, youth programs, and community outreach programs in the arts and entrepreneurship—and will begin doing so as early as next year, even while construction is underway.

We’re teamed up with Detroit’s Hamilton Anderson Associates, the architect of record, on the design and construction of the expanded museum campus. When complete, it will commemorate the label’s history while also serving as an incubator for new music.

“Motown Museum’s vision is to inspire dreams and serve as an educational resource for global and local communities while expanding its presence as an international mecca of music and entertainment history,” says Zena Howard, principal and managing director of our North Carolina practice.

Phase 2, currently in design, will be the iconic site’s first physical addition in decades. It includes space for interactive exhibits, a state-of-the art performance theater, new recording studios, an improved retail experience, and a café.

The design of Phase 2—the main museum—is inspired by “The Motown Sound” and the legacy of Motown Records. Its exterior will pay quiet homage to Marvin Gaye’s 1971 hit “What’s Going On” through sculptural waves in the façade that depict the song’s digitized sound waves. The colors of the vertical fins, which suggest vinyl records on a shelf, were strategically selected based on a color analysis of Motown’s earliest number-one best-selling album covers, creating an era-appropriate color palette for the entire building.

“The Motown Museum is more than a museum. It’s a place to connect with history while also looking to the future. It offers a narrative that relates to everyone—dreamers, artists and visionaries,” says Chris Garris, principal and lead designer on the project.

The $50 million, 50,000-square-foot expansion of the Motown Museum campus will enhance the experience of its visitors with interactive exhibits, a state-of-the-art performance theater, new recording studios, an improved retail experience, a café, and meeting spaces. A glass atrium will connect the three adjacent houses to create the welcoming Hitsville Next space.