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Birmingham’s Redesigned Mills Pharmacy is an Architectural Mood-Elevator

Posted: Aug 11 2011

Pharmacy design and good architecture mix about as often as amphetamines and barbiturates.

Think drugstore, and the mental image is likely one of fluorescent lights, linoleum floors, windowless walls, and cookie-cutter facades.

But the designers of the newly redone Mills Pharmacy on West Maple Road in Birmingham proposed a different prescription for the makeover of the longtime neighborhood retailer. M1/DTW, a Detroit-based firm directed by Christian Unverzagt, stitched together the remnants of three storefronts, converting the strip from Colonial to contemporary. The new look flaunts a glazed-brick wall complemented by weathered copper and reclaimed wood on the exterior. Inside, earthy woods enliven ceiling panels, floors are polished concrete, and countertops are sleek black. As expected, some visitors have asked when the carpeting will be installed. But the new owners — brothers Hany and Pierre Boutros — say they’re excited to offer a major transition for this 65-year-old mainstay that sits at the edge of a comfortable, traditional neighborhood.

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