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LOHA Unveils Plans for the Renovation of Detroit's African Bead Museum

08:00 - 20 May, 2016
LOHA Unveils Plans for the Renovation of Detroit's African Bead Museum, Courtesy of Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA)
Courtesy of Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA)

Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) has unveiled its plans for the renovation and master plan of the MBAD African Bead Museum, an arts and cultural complex in Detroit centered around African art.

Located on a major boulevard in a series of townhouses, the Museum is currently in a state of disrepair with the roof on its corner building having collapsed. This main corner building, although heavily damaged, still features wall murals by artist Olayami Dabls, and thus needs to be preserved.

Curators Reveal Images for the US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

14:35 - 18 May, 2016
Curators Reveal Images for the US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

For this year’s US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon have chosen twelve teams to speculate on possible architecture projects for four sites in Detroit, in an exhibition titled: The Architectural Imagination. After visiting Detroit last fall for site visits, community meeting, and discussions with faculty and students at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, the teams have now released images for their projects. The curators hope to generate creative and resourceful work to address the social and environmental issues of the 21st century.

Complex Problems for Architectural Imaginations: BairBalliet at the U.S. Pavilion

14:00 - 14 May, 2016
Courtesy of BairBalliet
Courtesy of BairBalliet

Kristy Balliet, Assistant Professor at the Knowlton School of Architecture, is the Columbus-based half of BairBalliet, who will be presenting their work as part of the Pavilion of the United States at this year’s Venice Biennale. Her research focuses on the exploration of volume as an architectural medium. Balliet's interest in the city of Detroit began long ago. Related to her interest in contemporary forms of volume, her research started to reimagine the typology of the architectural "midrise" (10-15 story building). Detroit, along with other Midwest cities, requires an innovative tactic for urban infill and associated embedded volumes. This topic has been explored within her own work and as a topic for research design studios at the Knowlton School of Architecture.

ROSSETTI Designs MLS Stadium and Mixed-Use Development for Detroit

08:00 - 6 May, 2016
ROSSETTI Designs MLS Stadium and Mixed-Use Development for Detroit, Courtesy of ROSSETTI
Courtesy of ROSSETTI

ROSSETTI has unveiled their design for a proposed development in downtown Detroit on the site of a currently unfinished jail. The project features a new MLS stadium with 20,000-25,000 seats, a training facility, a retail area, a parking structure for more than 5,000 cars, and four towers programmed for a hotel and residential and office spaces.

House Paint Pavilion / GELPI PROJECTS

17:00 - 31 March, 2016
House Paint Pavilion / GELPI PROJECTS, Courtesy of Gelpi Projects
Courtesy of Gelpi Projects
  • Architects

  • Location

    Detroit, MI, USA
  • Architect in Charge

    Nick Gelpi (GELPI PROJECTS)
  • Design Team

    Dean McMurry, Alvaro Membreno, Maria Flores,
  • Project Year

    2015
  • Photographs

    Courtesy of Gelpi Projects , Ryan Debolski

© Ryan Debolski Courtesy of Gelpi Projects © Ryan Debolski Courtesy of Gelpi Projects +29

“My Detroit” Postcards to be Displayed at US Exhibition at the 2016 Venice Biennale

12:00 - 6 March, 2016
“My Detroit” Postcards to be Displayed at US Exhibition at the 2016 Venice Biennale, Penobscot Block, 2015. Image © Ben Nowak, Oak Park, MI.
Penobscot Block, 2015. Image © Ben Nowak, Oak Park, MI.

Twenty postcards depicting Detroit have been selected for “My Detroit,” part of The Architectural Imagination,” the exhibition for the US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. Selected from among 463 entries by curator Cynthia Davidson and sociologist Camilo José Vergara, the 20 winning postcards --- taken by 18 different individuals -- were selected as a group, for helping to tell the story of Detroit today. Ten of the 18 winners are Detroit-area residents.

House Fire, 2013. Image © Geoff George, Detroit, MI. Glimmers of the past (Michigan Theatre), 2010. Image © Harrell Scarcello, Southfield, MI. Belle Isle Aquarium, 2013. Image © Derek Chang, New York, NY. Belle Isle Bridge, 2012. Image © Salvador Rodriguez, Saint Clair Shores, MI. +20

How One Artist Translocated a Family Home from Detroit to Rotterdam

04:00 - 26 February, 2016
How One Artist Translocated a Family Home from Detroit to Rotterdam, Photograph: Fabia Mendoza. Image via The Guardian
Photograph: Fabia Mendoza. Image via The Guardian

An empty house from Stoepel Street 20194, Detroit, is now in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. In this article for The Guardian, artist Ryan Mendoza describes his impetus and process for translocating a worn, abandoned former family home from one continent to another – as well as the statement he hoped to make. "When I arrived in Detroit in March 2015 I realised that this city – in the country I had left in 1992 out of distaste for its nationalistic, isolationist, police-dog mentality and its privatised prison system, [...] had, aside from the positive developments that were mostly in the downtown area, begun to look like a war zone."

Detroit Resists Criticizes Ambition of US Pavilion at Venice Biennale

08:00 - 22 February, 2016
Detroit Resists Criticizes Ambition of US Pavilion at Venice Biennale , Packard Plant Detroit. Image © 2010 JVLIVS Photography, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Packard Plant Detroit. Image © 2010 JVLIVS Photography, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Detroit Resists has released a statement questioning the ambition of the US Pavilion’s “The Architectural Imagination” exhibition at the 2016 Venice Biennale. The exhibition consists of twelve teams of designers who will present newly speculative projects that can be applied not only to various sites in Detroit, but also to other cities around the world. Yet while the exhibition aims to understand Detroit’s political, social, economic, and environmental context so that “the power of architecture” can be of service to the community of Detroit, Detroit Resists’ statement claims that in the past this “architectural power” has been indifferent to the political context.

“This architectural power has been manifestly apparent in architecture’s recruitments against indigenous, impoverished, marginalized, and precarious communities across the globe, usually in the name of “development” or “modernization” in the second half of the 20th century,” reads the statement.

Detroit Becomes First City in the US to be Named a UNESCO "City of Design"

14:00 - 26 December, 2015

UNESCO has inaugurated 47 new cities into its Creative Cities Network, with Detroit being selected as the first "City of Design" from the United States. The Creative Cities Network is a selection of cities across the world that promote the creation of creative and cultural industries, within the categories of crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts, and music.

5 Firms Selected to Build New Neighborhood in Detroit's Brush Park Area

14:00 - 16 December, 2015
5 Firms Selected to Build New Neighborhood in Detroit's Brush Park Area, Schematic rendering of the area. Image © Brush Park Detroit
Schematic rendering of the area. Image © Brush Park Detroit

Five US firms - Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA), Hamilton Anderson Associates (HAA), Merge Architects, Studio Dwell, and Christian Hurttienne Architects - have been commissioned to design a new walkable community in Detroit's historic Brush Park neighborhood. The project is being referred to as "Detroit's largest residential development in decades." It will include the construction of up to 400 new residential units, ranging in size from apartments to townhomes, and the renovation of four historic mansions, all within a dense four-block community that aims to be a "catalytic" development for the city.

Spotlight: Minoru Yamasaki

11:45 - 1 December, 2015
Spotlight: Minoru Yamasaki, World Trade Center. Image © Wikipedia user Jeffmock, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons
World Trade Center. Image © Wikipedia user Jeffmock, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Minoru Yamasaki (December 1, 1912 – February 7, 1986) has the uncommon distinction of being most well known for how some of his buildings were destroyed. His twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York collapsed in the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, and his Pruitt-Igoe complex in St. Louis, Missouri, demolished less than 20 years after its completion, came to symbolize the failure of public housing and urban renewal in the United States. But beyond those infamous cases, Yamasaki enjoyed a long and prolific career, and was considered one of the masters of “New Formalism,” infusing modern buildings with classical proportions and sumptuous materials.

Curatorial Team Selected for US Pavilion at 2016 Venice Biennale

08:00 - 28 August, 2015
Curatorial Team Selected for US Pavilion at 2016 Venice Biennale, The U.S. Pavilion from the 2014 Venice Biennale. Image © Nico Saieh
The U.S. Pavilion from the 2014 Venice Biennale. Image © Nico Saieh

After a selection process involving over 250 submissions, the curatorial team for the US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale has selected 12 teams of architects to produce the US exhibition: The Architectural Imagination. The Architectural Imagination will speculate possible architecture projects for four sites in Detroit with an eye for application internationally.

This fall, the teams will travel to Detroit for site visits and community meetings, as well as to meet with faculty and students at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon hope to have selected a team that produces creative and resourceful work to address the social and environmental issues of the 21st century.

See all of the selected teams after the break.

Culture Lab Detroit Dialogue: Architecture and Nature: Designing for Today’s Urban Landscape

02:30 - 21 August, 2015
Culture Lab Detroit Dialogue: Architecture and Nature: Designing for Today’s Urban Landscape

Panelists: Sou Fujimoto, Japanese architect, renowned for his synthesis of nature and architecture & Walter Hood, landscape architect, specializing in the public realm and urban environment

Moderator: Reed Kroloff, architect and urban designer, former director of Cranbrook Academy of Art

Mies van der Rohe's Lafayette Park Named National Historic Landmark

16:16 - 6 August, 2015
Mies van der Rohe's Lafayette Park Named National Historic Landmark, AD Classics: Lafayette Park / Mies van der Rohe. Image © Jamie Schafer
AD Classics: Lafayette Park / Mies van der Rohe. Image © Jamie Schafer

One of the first and most successful examples of urban renewal, Detroit's 78-acre Lafayette Park is known for being the world's largest collection of works by Mies van der Rohe. Now, the mid-century modern "masterpiece" is the first urban renewal project to be declared a National Historic Landmark. This is partially due to the fact that, as Ruth Mills, architectural historian for Quinn Evans Architects told the Detroit Free Press, "Lafayette Park was one of the few urban renewal projects that's done it successfully." It is now Michigan's 41st landmark.

How Infrastructure Segregates Cities

18:00 - 24 July, 2015
How Infrastructure Segregates Cities, via The Washington Post
via The Washington Post

The Washington Post has published a piece looking at how infrastructure acts as a form of segregation in cities in the US. Using racial dot maps from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, they show how highways, railroads, historically uncrossable avenues, and similar urban design decisions have a huge impact on the physical isolation of different races. These types of infrastructure were also found to reinforce boundaries set by natural patterns of topography and bodies of water. Cities found to have clear infrastructural segregation include Pittsburgh, Hartford, DetroitWashington, D.C., and Milwaukee. Read the full article, here.

US Pavilion Summons Architects Interested in Participating at 2016 Venice Biennale

14:07 - 17 July, 2015
US Pavilion Summons Architects Interested in Participating at 2016 Venice Biennale, US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Image © Nico Saieh
US Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Biennale. Image © Nico Saieh

The US Pavilion for the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale has launched a call for submissions to all architects interested in participating in The Architectural Imagination. The exhibition will present speculative architectural projects commissioned for specific sites in Detroit but with far-reaching application for cities around the world." Curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon will commission 12 US architects to "produce new work that demonstrates the creativity and resourcefulness of architecture to address the social and environmental issues of the 21st century." Each of the 12 projects will be exhibited in the pavilion and documented in an exhibition cataLog, a special issue of the journal Log.

The curators are looking for design excellence, innovative speculative thinking, and architectural expertise in built and/or unbuilt work. Read on to learn more. 

The House Opera Project: Help Fund a New Public Space in Detroit

14:00 - 27 June, 2015

A new project in Detroit aims to repurpose a vacant house into a public performance space – but it needs your help. House Opera is the result of a collaboration between V. Mitch McEwen and her partner at A(n) Office, Marcelo Lopez-Dinardi. After McEwen purchased a vacant, stripped down house from the city of Detroit two and a half years ago, the two began removing elements of the “house” in order to transform it into an open theater space, meant to showcase Detroit storytelling.

Joined by Detroit curators and community organizers, as well as design and art collaborators from around the country, the project has received a $10,000 Knight Arts Challenge grant to fund half of the project. But support is needed to fund the other half. They have launched a fundraiser, which ends on July 2, 2015 12:59 AM, and donations can be made here. Learn more about the project after the break.

Through Bankruptcy and Boom: What's Really Happening in Detroit?

09:30 - 19 June, 2015
Through Bankruptcy and Boom: What's Really Happening in Detroit?, ©  Flickr user Daniel Lobo
© Flickr user Daniel Lobo

After exiting bankruptcy at the end of last year, Detroit has suddenly become something of a boomtown in the eyes of the media. Discourse now talks about Detroit Rising, the "Post-Post-Apocalyptic Detroit". Rents are rising, private investment is flowing into the city, and institutions that left the city for the affluent suburbs are now relocating back into Detroit proper. Too long used only as a cautionary tale, the new focus on the reality of Detroit and free flowing money opens the door for architects and urban planners, not to mention the wider community, to begin thinking about how they want to rebuild Detroit, and who they want to rebuild it for.

It’s the perfect opportunity to formulate plans that will genuinely aid Detroit, involve the community and create a revival that really achieves something. But as it stands, the "revival" forming in Detroit, aided and abetted by media coverage, will not improve conditions for the vast majority of Detroiters and will not create a sustainable platform for future growth, instead benefiting only the private investors and those rich enough to benefit from what is currently classic, by-the-book gentrification.

Renaissance Centre, a previous attempt to revitalise Detroit. Image © Flickr user paul bica An abandoned Detroit house. Image © Wikimedia user Notorious4life Detroit's Brush Park neighbourhood in Midtown. Image ©  Flickr user Stephen Harlan Detroit's ExpressTram. Image © Wikimedia user Danleo +17