Lafayette Park, an affordable middle-class residential area in downtown Detroit, is home to the largest collection of buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the world. Today, it is one of Detroit’s most racially integrated and economically stable neighborhoods, although it is surrounded by evidence of a city in financial distress. Through interviews with and essays by residents; reproductions of archival material; and new photographs by Karin Jobst, Vasco Roma, and Corine Vermeulen, and previously unpublished photographs by documentary filmmaker Janine Debanné, Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies examines the way that Lafayette Park residents confront and interact with this unique modernist environment.
Lafayette Park has not received the level of international attention that other similar projects by Mies have. This may be due in part to its location in Detroit, a city whose most positive qualities are often overlooked in the media. This book is a reaction against the way that iconic modernist architecture is often represented. Whereas other writers may focus on the design intentions of the architect, authors Aubert, Cavar and Chandani seek to show the organic and idiosyncratic ways that the people who live in Lafayette Park actually use the architecture and how this experience, in turn, affects their everyday lives. While there are many publications about abandoned buildings in Detroit and about the city’s prosperous past, this book is about a remarkable part of the city as it exists today, in the twenty-first century.
026 The Townhouses
028 Photo Essay / Living with Mies
045 Essay / Hidden in Plain Sight
052 Interview / "I'm just getting used to the new ambiance"
057 Interview and Tour / There are many, many really cool things about the house"
065 Essay / Living in Lafayette Park
070 Interview and Tour / "I don't think the Taxus plants belong here"
076 Archive / "I'm just a saver. If it's about Lafayette Park I put it in a box."
086 Open House
090 Authentic and Original
096 Interview / "We´ll fight about the heigh of the hedges, but generally everybody agrees"
102 Interview / "I Like to respect what was"
107 Essay / Bustle in the Hedgerow: Urban Living in the Prairie Landscape
113 Essay / The Big Thing About Little Tress
119 Essay / Living in Ordered Exhibition
126 The Neighborhood
128 Photo Essay / Spring in Lafayette 1977-2009
146 Birds and Plate Glass
158 Animal Encounters
166 Celebrities Rumored to Have Lived in Lafayette Park
168 Four One-Mile Walks
174 Selling Modern
184 The High-Rises
186 Photo Essay / Living with Mies: The High-Rises
218 Interviews / "My favorite things about living here is that they have donuts on Friday in the lobby."
223 Interview / "My main selling point would be, you're going to get a beautiful view"
236 Photo Essay / The Pavilion
249 Interview / "Mies is a little too contemporary for me. I am more of an eclectic person"
251 Interview / "I don't like to be status quo, and this is one-of-a kind kind of place"
255 Interview / "It was known all over the country-Lafayette Park, Detroit, Michigan!"
257 Interview / "I don't care how fine the furniture is, you still need decorations"
261 Essay / Aesthetic Mismanagement of the Lafayette Towers"
267 Essay and Photos / The Lafayette Towers: Looking Back
277 Facts About Lafayette Park
282 Selected Bibliography
Publisher: Metropolis Books
Editors: Danielle Aubert, Lana Cavar, Natasha Chandani
Format: 6.5 x 9.5 in., illustrated throughout