Nadau Architects, the winning team of the Reanimate the Ruins international ideas contest, have shared with us their proposal to revive Detroit's historic Packard Automotive Plant, the former factory which has become an icon of the city's post-industrial decline. By developing a proposal which frees the land from unwanted structures and knits the colossal 1 kilometer-long building back into the urban landscape, Nadau Lavergne Architects have created a design which returns both a sense of community and some economic hope back to the building.
Read more about the proposal after the break
The Packard Automotive Plant was constructed between 1903 and 1911, when it was considered to be the most advanced car manufacture facility in the world. However, when the factory closed in 1958, the building went into a slow decline, first being used by a number of businesses for offices and storage, and ultimately being abandoned in the late 1990s.
Though the building is in a poor state of repair, its heavy reinforced concrete frame means it is still structurally viable. Nadau Lavergne Architects propose that much of the building can be kept, while other weaker structures in the vicinity should be demolished to open up the site. To further open the site, they propose strategic demolition at certain points along the building, splitting the oversized structure into blocks with a true urban character.
Once the extraneous buildings on the site are removed - and those few who still lived in them given financial incentive to occupy new flats in the re-purposed factory building - the land is free for a variety of community uses, including urban farming, sports grounds, a social center, a market and a new cultural center designed to complement the factory buildings. In addition, the largest building on the newly-formed blocks will be converted into a museum, with half of the museum's exhibition spaces dedicated to the site's rich automotive history.
Through these moves, an autonomous new community would form, with the potential and space to increase its complexity, adding services such as fire and police stations, health facilities, or its own district council. In addition, the renovated building and the urban grid within which it sits provide a repeatable typology which can be used to add more housing when needed.
For the full results of the competition, visit the Reanimate the Ruins competition website from competition organizers Parrallel Projections.