Throughout history shifting economies, disasters, regime changes, and utter incompetence have all caused the evacuation of impressive architectural structures. From the 1986 explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine that rendered a region of the then-Soviet Union uninhabitable, to the decline in public transport that saw a number of US train stations becoming superfluous, the history of architectural abandonment touches all cultures. And, without regular maintenance, structures deteriorate, leaving behind no more than awe-inspiring ghosts of the past to fuel the ever-growing internet trend for "ruin porn." Below are 8 abandoned buildings slowly being reclaimed by nature:
Chicago-based SOM’s plans for the redevelopment of the East Riverfront in Detroit, Michigan have been unveiled. The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, and City of Detroit Planning and Development Department will work together to deliver SOM’s plan to revitalize the former blighted industrial area. The framework plan involves improving community access to the riverfront, the design of a new riverfront parkland, and the conversion of a historic riverfront structure into a mixed-use development.
For nearly 100 years, the JL Hudson's Department Store in downtown Detroit stood as a mecca of shopping – the 25-story structure at one point holding the record for world’s tallest retail building. Then in 1983, following a downturn of the Detroit economy, the department store was closed. Its implosion followed in 1998. In the years since, the important site has laid mainly vacant, save for an underground parking structure inserted into the store’s former underground retail levels. But now, plans have been revealed to return the site to its former glory.
Announced yesterday by Detroit-based development group Bedrock, the site is set to receive a brand new 1.2 million-square-foot development designed by SHoP Architects and consisting of a nine-story retail podium and a 52-story, 734-foot tower that would claim the title of Detroit’s tallest building.
Due to the redevelopment of Detroit and the surging popularity of mid-century design, home prices and cost of living in the neighborhood have dramatically increased in just 5 years time – leaving the community on the cupse of turnover. Seeing the need to document Lafayette Park before it changes for good, Clancy uses his camera to capture the diverse group of existing residents in their homes, highlighting their relationships to the timeless architecture.
The "Rust Belt," a region of north central United States, is well known as an area where once thriving industrial cities have declined in economic health and population. As a result, many of the region's cities have been subject to grand proposals that aim to fix these city's problems--but could such schemes also provide a way to intervene in other serious global issues? In a recent article, Metropolis Magazine’s Web Editor and former ArchDaily Managing Editor Vanessa Quirk argues that refugees could reinvigorate such cities, describing how refugees are “boosting American’s legacy cities,” but simultaneously “encountering resistance from residents.”
All the world’s a stage – quite literally so, in the case of the Container Globe, a proposal to reconstruct a version of Shakespeare’s famous Globe Theatre with shipping containers. Staying true to the design of the original Globe Theatre in London, the Container Globe sees repurposed containers come together in a familiar form, but in steel rather than wood. Founder Angus Vail hopes this change in building component will give the Container Globe both a "punk rock" element and international mobility, making it as mobile as the shipping containers that make up its structure.
The City of Detroit, in partnership with the Knight Foundation, seeks ambitious, multidisciplinary planning and design teams to reimagine Detroit’s commercial corridors and explore reforms to Detroit’s land use regulations.
Inspired by the principles of Lean Urbanism, the project involves modest research, design, and analysis services, spread over a six month period.
Successful teams will receive $19,000 to cover costs and travel.
In this interview, presented in collaboration with PLANE—SITE, Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon—curators of the US Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale—explain why the United States' contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale has brought together "visionary" American architectural practices to speculatively address the future of the city of Detroit. They argue that these projects have "far-reaching applications for cities around the world."
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.
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.
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 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.
LocationDetroit, MI, United States
Architect in ChargeNick Gelpi (GELPI PROJECTS)
Design TeamDean McMurry, Alvaro Membreno, Maria Flores,
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.
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 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.
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.
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.