There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t stop and ask someone, “You have that ‘I’m lost in the RenCen’ look on your face. Can I help you find your way?” For first-time visitors, this place can seem overwhelming — it is just so big and so beautiful. Visitors often just stop in their tracks and stare upward. Welcome to the GM Renaissance Center.
Having worked in the GM Renaissance Center (or the RenCen as we call it) for several years, I know very well architect Jonathan Portman’s design goal — for every visitor to have a “new” experience when they come into the building. For some, that can mean “lost.” But don’t let it intimidate you. The RenCen is nothing more than a circle with a big hotel in the center and four main towers around the outside. You can’t take a bad photograph in this place, and there are just so many cool things about it that we never tire of welcoming friends to our “home away from home.” It truly is an ideal place to host a PRSA International Conference. Consider this:
- Henry Ford II conceived and built the Renaissance Center, and officially opened its doors April 15, 1977. The total cost for the initial construction was $350 million, making it one of the largest privately-financed real estate developments at the time.
- Before the GM renovations in 1996, the Renaissance Center contained 250,000 cubic yards of concrete, 38,000 tons of structural steel, two million square feet of glass and 11,535 windows.
- The GM Renaissance Center renovation project entailed approximately 5.5 million square feet and was the largest multi-use facility renovation project of its kind anywhere in the world at the time.