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US Pavilion Announces Architects for the Venice Biennale 2016

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.

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

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.

Dichotomy Journal Plays the Odds: Open Call for Submissions on Taking Architectural Risks

University of Detroit Mercy's Dichotomy Journal has issued an open call for submissions to its 21st edition on the theme of "Odds," inviting discussion on projects that "defy the status quo and aim for greater fortune." Risk takers rejoice: Dichotomy 21 will shine a spotlight on architectural anomalies and the "implications of defying the odds and embracing the strange." The journal aims to stimulate a new discourse on extraordinary and unconventional designs that push the architectural envelope. Submissions are invited to discuss ideas defying the odds in design, architecture, urbanism and community development.

Invisible Solar Harvesting Technology Becomes Reality

Solar harvesting systems don’t need to be glaringly obvious. In fact, now they can even be invisible, thanks to researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) who have developed a transparent luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) that can be applied to windows or anything else with a clear surface.

LSC technology is nothing new, but the transparent aspect is. Previous attempts yielded inefficient results with brightly colored materials, and as researcher Richard Lunt, an assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science at MSU, puts it, “No one wants to sit behind colored glass.” To learn how Lunt and the rest of the research team achieved transparency, keep reading after the break. 

Preston Scott Cohen + Integrated Design Solutions to Expand UM Architecture Building

The University of Michigan (UM) has commissioned Preston Scott Cohen and Integrated Design Solutions to design a $28 million expansion for its 40-year-old design building. Primarily planned to be used by the school’s architecture program, the new addition will include classrooms, studios and offices, as well as the renovation of existing studios. The news comes five years after schematic designs for the original expansion were abandoned. More information, here

Exhibition: Lebbeus Woods, Architect

From November 22 through March 2, 2014, the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University presents Lebbeus Woods, Architect, bringing together over 100 works from the past 35 years by one of the most influential architects working in the field. Recognized beyond architecture, Lebbeus Woods (1940–2012), who was born in Lansing, Michigan, has been hailed by leading designers, filmmakers, writers, and artists alike as a significant voice in recent decades. Notably, Zaha Hadid, architect of the Broad’s newly inaugurated building, cities Woods as a key influence.

'Redesigning Detroit: A New Vision for an Iconic Site' Competition Entry / Various Architects

The mission in the proposal, titled ‘The Grand Opening,’ for the Redesigning Detroit: A New Vision for an Iconic Site competition is to create a vision for a 24/7 timeless, vibrant and walk-able urban neighborhood in downtown Detroit with a catalytic impact on the retail activities of Woodward Avenue Corridor.  Designed by Chung Whan Park, Terry Park, Jeong Jun Song, Hyuntek Yoon and Kyung Jae Yu, The Grand Opening will connect the different contexts of the existing urban settings and bring every hour of excitement, crowd and memorable identity to the street life of downtown Detroit. More images and architects’ description after the break.

An Opportunity for Revitalization in Detroit

Young entrepreneurs gravitate to places where they can become the founders of a revitalized culture; where land is cheap and available and innovation is uninhibited by a status quo.  Detroit, Michigan has become one of those places. The media gives us a portrayal of a wasteland, a post apocalyptic landscape of dilapidated homes and infrastructure. But there is plenty opportunity for start-ups to redefine Detroit's future. That it why young innovators and risk-takers are needed to bring new energy and awaken new markets within the city.  A recent article by Chuck Salter for Fast Company identifies six entrepreneurs who have started businesses in Detroit.  They vary from grassroots campaigns to inform people of opportunities within the city to small scale enterprises that bring retail and infrastructure to the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods.

More after the break.

Two Islands Wins Inaugural Flat Lot Competition in Flint

Update: Our friends at Two Islands have launched a Kickstarter campaing so you could also be part of the project. By pledging £5, you can have your own photo used in the ceiling of Mark's House (or £20 for a bigger one). You can send a photo, a sign, a collage or even a QR code, so get creative! Click here for all the information.

Occupying no more than eight parking spaces on Flint, Michigan’s central downtown parking lot, this temporary summer pavilion designed as an abstract, reflective and floating representation of a Michigander, Tudor-style home has been chosen as the winning scheme in the inaugural Flat Lot competition presented by Flint Public Art Project and the Flint Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. 

More information on the winning scheme after the break...

Detroit by Design 2012 Competition Winning Proposal / Matthew Edward Getch + Maciej Woroniecki

Aerial Perspective of Hart Plaza
Aerial Perspective of Hart Plaza

Aiming to create a riverfront like none other in the world, landscape architect Matthew Edward Getch and architect Maciej Woroniecki shared with us their proposal in the Detroit by Design 2012 competition where they received the 2nd overall prize and the first prize for the People’s Choice Award. The goals of their proposal were born from Detroit’s apparent weakness. They established linear interventions which recognized the severed parks and green networks and utilized them to reconnect the citizens of Detroit back to the riverfront through pedestrian friendly portals. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum / Zaha Hadid by Brad Feinknopf

© Brad Feinknopf
© Brad Feinknopf

Brad Feinknopf, a nationally recognized architectural photographer, kindly shared with us his recent photographic work on Zaha Hadid‘s Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University. Known for his traditional, yet cutting edge approach to photography, his quality work here emphasizes the unique exterior and interior spaces of the building created by Hadid’s investigation into the lines of circulation and visual connections. Photographed during the day and night, he also captures its interface between city and campus. Additional images by Feinknopf can be viewed after the break.

'The Forest' Detroit Riverfront Competition 1st Prize Winning Entry / Hyuntek Yoon, Soobum You (Team Atelier Why)

Hyuntek Yoon and Soobum You of Team Atelier Why shared with us their first prize winning proposal in the Detroit Riverfront competition. Their ‘Forest’ concept, which aims at being a fairy tale between the city and the forest by ‘filling’, is the focus of the urban development. Currently, the site is filled with voids, such as trees and the knoll, but the forest creates rich stories with the city. Providing spaces that are more secure and for smaller activities, people will have the chance to experience nature. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Detroit River Front Competition Entry / AMA

The main objective for the Detroit River Front proposal is to create a new image of the city, an exclusive and unique landmark that glances to a future Detroit involved in its nature that it forgot for a long time. Designed by Architetto Matteo Ascani (AMA), the project for the redevelopment of Hart Plaza is divided in major guide lines: water, nature, history. They provide a new landscape system, where water enters inside the plaza by canals that redesign the cost line, as the river comes closer to the downtown. More images and architects’ description after the break.

The Dynamism of Zaha's Eli and Edythe Broad Museum

© Paul Warchol
© Paul Warchol

Rio de Janeiro-based writer Robert Landon has shared with us his experience exploring Zaha Hadid’s newly completed Eli and Edythe Broad Museum in Michigan. As you approach Zaha Hadid’s new Eli and Edythe Broad Museum in East Lansing, Michigan, it is the complex, light-catching carapace that first reels in the eye — a fine shock after the brick, neo-Gothic buildings that define the rest of the Michigan State University campus. Draw closer and its undulating fins, opening and closing in rhythmic asymmetries, begin to seduce the mind. In some places scrunched up into sharp angles and in others allowed to breathe for longer stretches across the low-slung facade, the fins seem to be the expression of some higher, grid-bending equation. In a half-conscious attempt to solve the math, you begin to circle the building. At certain points, the fins spread wide enough for generous glimpses inside, but as you move keep moving, the inner secrets vanish again behind the metal lattice. In the same way, the relentlessly kinetic carapace tantalizes with, but ultimately eludes, any logical or definitive summing up. What is certain, though, is that, by the time you’ve come full circle, you’ll have grown quite curious to see what is going on inside. More after the break…

'Your Text Here' Installation / Marcos Zotes/UNSTABLE

The ‘Your Text Here’ participatory, site-specific light installation challenges the condition of the city constantly telling us what to do, what to think, and how to act. Using explicit visual language, a multiplicity of billboards, signs, images and symbols invade our public spaces in order to tell us something. The project by Marcos Zotes/UNSTABLE aims at empowering local communities by providing a tool that transforms people voices into citizen proclamations the size of buildings. You just submit an anonymous text message in a website through your mobile phone, and in turn it is automatically projected at large scale onto the façade of a building. More images and architect’s description after the break.

Studio Gang breaks ground on Arcus Center at Kalamazoo College

Night © Studio Gang Architects
Night © Studio Gang Architects

Studio Gang Architects and Kalamazoo College have announced plans to break ground October 9, at 4PM, on a new campus building to house the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership in southwest Michigan. The 10,000 square foot, wood masonry center will be the world’s first purpose-built structure for social justice leadership development, integrating a study, meeting, and event space where students, faculty, visiting scholars, social justice leaders, and members of the public will come together to engage in conversation and activities aimed at creating a more just world. Set to be completed in Fall 2013, the Arcus Center is targeting LEED Gold certification. Continue after the break to learn more.

Detroit by Design 2012: Detroit Riverfront Competition

AIA Detroit Chapter’s Urban Priorities Committee just launched their Detroit by Design 2012: Detroit Riverfront Competition, which is open to students and professionals world-wide. The project site consists of the area between Cobo Hall and the Renaissance Center and between Jefferson Avenue and the Detroit River. A distinguished group has been put together to judge the competition including Daniel Libeskind, Walter Hood, Reed Kroloff, Faye Alexander Nelson, and Lola Sheppard. With a prize of $8500, the winner will also win a trip to Detroit and a lecture at an AIA sponsored event. Proposals are due by 5:00 p.m. EST on November 30. An accompanying symposium is scheduled for Thursday, December 6, 2012. To register and for more information, please visit here.

'Fantastic Trailer' Pavilion / Cheryl Baxter

The Fantastic Trailer, designed by Cheryl Baxter, is a mobile pavilion aimed at being a delightful experience as the interruption of columns and seating areas force the architecture into the conversation, setting the stage for engaging social experience. Developed as ethereal forms, the draft columns blur the line between drapery and structure, and invite the viewer to feel the supporting air movement. The circular seating areas on the pavilion create small conversation circles intermittently invaded by the draft columns. More images and architects’ description after the break.