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Winners of "The Rust Belt" Contest Offer Ideas for a 107-Acre Former Factory Site

Across industrial North America, many small working class cities are faced with a plethora of abandoned property due to the downfall of the automotive industry. The prolific ruins of the largest abandoned factory in North America, Detroit's Packard Motor Plant, have served as an emblem for dozens of similar plants dotting the landscapes of cities across the continent. In 2010, shortly after the beginning of the global economic crisis, Chrysler closed a sprawling engine factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The factory has since been demolished and is now at the beginning of a five-year cleanup. Located adjacent to a densely populated suburban development, the 107-acre property begs the question: what can be done with such a massive piece of land?

In response to Kenosha's Chrysler problem, a team of urbanists, architects and researchers known as Urban Design for Everyone (UD4U) launched a global competition to reinvigorate the former industrial property. Proposals had to take the adjacent neighborhoods into consideration, with the ultimate goal of bridging gaps between disparate communities at opposite ends of the property. The winning proposals range widely from a stylized village of housing, to the creation of enormous urban farms, to the construction of an innovation park featuring a series of vast artificial lakes. After receiving 43 entries from 17 countries, a jury of local architects selected three exceptional proposals and five honorable mentions. Find out what the teams proposed after the break.

Sou Fujimoto Designs "Structural Waterfall" for Miami

The Miami Design District, an 18 square-block neighborhood between Miami’s downtown and South Beach, has announced that the facade of its new mixed-use retail building will be designed by Sou Fujimoto. The two-floor, 17,000 square foot structure, which will feature "an elongated series of glass fins extending from the rooftop down to the open courtyard," will create unique pedestrian arcades covered by a "structural waterfall."

The Miami Design District, owned by Miami Design District Associates, aims to combine commerce with high-quality design, fashion, art and architecture, and has chosen Fujimoto on the merit of his past award-winning works, from House N in Tokyo, to the Musashino Art University & Library, to - most recently - his design of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London. 

Philip Johnson's Crystal Cathedral Born Again

Johnson Fain and Rios Clementi Hale Studios have been selected to transform Philip Johnson's 1981 Crystal Cathedral, originally a Protestant mega-church, to make it more in keeping with its new, Catholic identity. 

The Cathedral, which had filed for bankruptcy in October 2010, was bought in early 2012 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. Earlier this month, the architects were chosen for the renovation: Johnson Fain will focus on the interior, while Rios Clementi Hale Studios will oversee the masterplan of its 34-acre campus.

AD Editorial Round Up: Architecture in America Today

Seeing as it’s the 4th of July, we thought we would take a moment to reflect on the state of Architecture in our country today. Where are we? What’s important to us now, July 4th, 2012? And what does the future look like?