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True North / EC3

True North / EC3

© Chris Miele © Chris Miele © Jason Keen © Jason Keen + 32

Detroit, United States
  • Architects: EC3
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  7530.0 ft²
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2017
  • Photographs Photographs:  Chris Miele, Jason Keen
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers: SteelMaster
  • Construction Administration: Reyna Construction
  • Project Representative: ABOVE THE FOLD
  • Civil Engineer: Nowak and Fraus
  • Underground Work: Brown Derby Boys
  • Plumbing: Expert Master Plumbers
  • Electric: Willie Marshall and Sons
More Specs Less Specs
© Chris Miele
© Chris Miele

Text description provided by the architects. True North is a development comprised of nine rental units and shared community gardens, located two-and-a-half miles from Downtown Detroit.

© Jason Keen
© Jason Keen

It has received international attention for pioneering creative affordable design attuned to both its context and community, as well as for catalyzing the redevelopment of a long-neglected area.

© Jason Keen
© Jason Keen

For aesthetic and economic reasons, the client challenged EC3 to utilize Quonset Huts, a prefabricated lightweight structure consisting of corrugated galvanized steel and having a semicircular cross section.

© Chris Miele
© Chris Miele
Section 02
Section 02
© Chris Miele
© Chris Miele

Edwin Chan, founder of the Los Angeles-based studio EC3 and former design partner at Gehry Partners, commented: “We tried to capture the beauty of Detroit’s toughness with the raw aesthetic in its design, while creating an inviting place for the neighborhood.”

© Jason Keen
© Jason Keen

Open to the neighborhood and without fencing, the strategic placement of the huts is driven by a need for openness and security, views and privacy, socializing and solitude, leaving the community accessible from the street via three pathways.

© Chris Miele
© Chris Miele
Zone Diagram
Zone Diagram
© Jason Keen
© Jason Keen

Once inside the community, the pathways connect visitors to the eight huts (nine units total), communal gardens, thirty trees, and eight parking spots alongside the back alley.

© Chris Miele
© Chris Miele

Each structure is assembled on top of a four-inch concrete slab with in-floor radiant heat, which is also the units finished floor. The end walls feature custom steel framing around polycarbonate panels that provide a higher level of security, natural light and high thermal value.

© Chris Miele
© Chris Miele

For the interiors EC3 worked with the client and collaborators to develop a variety of layouts for the units – sizes ranging from 475 to 1,600 square feet – to inspire different creative lifestyles. Most of the units also feature an interior polycarbonate “island” containing a kitchen, a bathroom, and a mechanical/storage closet. Above the island, a mezzanine platform provides occupants with a flex for any use, possibly a bedroom, workspace or storage.

© Chris Miele
© Chris Miele

True North recently won The Architect’s Newspaper’s 2017 Best of Design Award in the Multi-Unit Residential Category and won an honorable mention from Architect Magazine in the 2017 Progressive Architecture P/A Awards.

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Project location

Address: Detroit, MI, United States

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "True North / EC3" 20 Jan 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/887275/true-north-ec3/> ISSN 0719-8884
© Chris Miele

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