GM Design Dome gets makeover [w/video]

With modern architecture by famed designer Eero Saarinen, the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, MI, already stands as a national landmark. One of the campus's most visually arresting buildings is the Design Dome, where designers display models and concepts before they see production. Most of GM's vehicles since the 1956 model year have rolled through there, but a lot has happened technologically since the dome's construction nearly 60 years ago. To keep it in service for decades to come, the site has recently received a major technological upgrade.

The original point of the Design Dome was to give the company an enclosed space that simulated natural light to evaluate vehicles, and a walled, tree-lined courtyard allowed for outdoor displays, too. After the recent upgrades over the past 18-months, the building now has new LED lighting, drop-down projection screens, an improved sound system and the ability to display video on the ceiling. "We can dial in warmer or cooler light; we can redirect the lights remotely," GM design boss Ed Wellburn said to The Detroit Free Press.

The patio also received renovations, and the original trees that were planted when the building opened were replaced with new ones. Rather than just hauling the lumber away, GM gave the wood to its designers to create art pieces, including a fully functional bicycle and several sculptures.

The video below from The Detroit Free Press shows the renovations in greater detail and has an interview of Welburn about the changes.

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