The design of the first Whole Foods Market in Birmingham provides a tremendous amount of glazing which allows the public to see into the grocery store. The materials of brick, stone, and wood were specifically selected in concert with the geography of southeastern Michigan.
The most significant challenge for this project involved the city’s zoning requirements which were very difficult for a modern grocery store to accommodate. The city requested a significant amount of glazing or storefront along all four sides of the building. However, the triangular site required that the parking be located to the south of the building. The solution was to rotate the building to provide two entrances, one on the north and one on the south. This placed the back of house portion of the grocery store to the east which is adjacent to a railroad.