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Detroit: The Latest Architecture and News

MAGNET Restaurant / Undecorated

© Chris Miele© Chris Miele© Chris Miele© Chris Miele+ 26

Shrinking Cities: The Rise and Fall of Urban Environments

Urban planning is often based on the assumption of ongoing demographic and economic growth, but as some environments face urban shrinkage, a new array of strategies comes into play. The shrinking city phenomenon is a process of urban decline with complex causes ranging from deindustrialization, internal migration, population decline, or depletion of natural resources. Referencing the existing research on the topic, the following showcases approaches to this phenomenon in different urban environments, highlighting the need to develop new urban design frameworks to address the growing challenge.

<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Altena_Burg_20051030.jpg">Dr.G.Schmitz</a>, <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC BY-SA 3.0</a>, via Wikimedia Commons. ImageAltena, former industrial city in GermanySetnom from Chile, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons. ImageSewell mining town in ChileAnina, mining town in Romania. Image © Tudor ConstantinescuHristina Stojanovic. ImageThe mining city of Bor+ 6

Christophe Hutin Curates France's Pavilion for the 2021 Venice Biennale, Highlighting “Communities at Work” in Europe, Asia, America and Africa

The French pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale, “aims to reflect on the meeting between architectural know-how and the inhabitants’ own experiences of their living spaces”. Curated by Christophe Hutin, the intervention entitled “Communities at Work” will provide an immersive experience with the help of images in motion. Using five specific case studies on different continents: in Europe, Asia, America, and Africa, the exhibition presents a journey into a world where communities transformations their own living spaces, without following any formal schemes designed by an architect.

View from the abandoned maternity ward at Florence House; Johannesburg, South Africa – 2011. Image Courtesy of Christophe HutinHanging washing, Film still; Hanoi, Vietnam – 2020. Image Courtesy of Christophe HutinWinter garden; Le Grand Parc, Bordeaux, France – 2016. Image © Philippe RuaultDevelopment site of the abandoned maternity ward, Florence House; Johannesburg, South Africa – 2011. Image Courtesy of Christophe Hutin+ 19

MVRDV Reveals Glass Mural, an Office and Retail Building in Detroit’s Active Food Hub

MVRDV was commissioned the design of Glass Mural, a new 3,716-square-meter office and retail building with a custom glass façade that integrates colorful murals by artists DENIAL and Sheefy McFly. Located in Detroit’s Eastern Market neighborhood, the project will be MVRDV’s third mixed-use project in the United States and first in the Midwest.


Detroit to Launch 10th Annual Month of Design

Design Core Detroit is launching the 10th annual Detroit Month of Design in September. The event will recognize Detroit’s designation as the first and only UNESCO City of Design in the United States, and will include more than 175 participants presenting over 65 events and special projects. The programming will explore design solutions to the challenges faced by Detroit and the global community since the start of 2020.

Courtesy of Design Core DetroitCourtesy of Design Core DetroitCourtesy of Design Core DetroitCourtesy of Design Core Detroit+ 5

From a Complicated Present, Urban Reuse Parks Look to the Future

Metropolis catches up with the High Line Network, a consortium of North American reuse projects that has been sharing notes and best practices through the pandemic.

Since the pandemic began, the High Line Network—a group of North American infrastructure reuse projects founded in 2017—has been conducting regular teleconference calls among its members, comparing notes on operations and sharing best practices and advice with fellow members. With many open or planning to reopen soon, and as the pandemic continues, many observers expect these projects will become even more popular among the public, since they provide outdoor space where visitors can walk, bicycle, and safely enjoy themselves—usually at an appropriate distance from one another. Especially now, the network believes its constituent projects can deliver tremendous and much-needed social, health, environmental, and economic benefits.

Eastside Trail and Ponce City Market along the Atlanta BeltLine. Courtesy The SintosesArt along the Eastside Trail of the Atlanta BeltLine. Courtesy The SintosesDequindre Cut. Courtesy Detroit Riverfront ConservancyMurals along Dequindre Cut. Courtesy Detroit Riverfront Conservancy+ 13

Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business / SmithGroup

© James Ewing; Jason Keen; Jason Robinson© James Ewing; Jason Keen; Jason Robinson© James Ewing; Jason Keen; Jason Robinson© James Ewing; Jason Keen; Jason Robinson+ 21

Spotlight: Minoru Yamasaki

World Trade Center / Minoru Yamasaki Associates + Emery Roth & Sons. Image <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Twin_Towers-NYC.jpg'>via Wikimedia</a>. Part of the Carol M Highsmith Archive donated to the Library of Congress and placed in the public domain
World Trade Center / Minoru Yamasaki Associates + Emery Roth & Sons. Image via Wikimedia. Part of the Carol M Highsmith Archive donated to the Library of Congress and placed in the public domain

Minoru Yamasaki (December 1, 1912 – February 7, 1986) has the uncommon distinction of being most well known for how 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.

ODA Designs New Detroit Book Tower Rehabilitation Project

ODA New York has been selected as the Design Architect for the rehabilitation of Detroit's iconic Book Tower. Working with real estate company Bedrock, the team will create a mix of residential, hospitality, retail and office space in the tower. ODA plans to update and expand on Book Tower’s programming and existing structures with nearly 500,000 square feet of downtown programming. The restoration of the 38-story landmark aims to create a cohesive civic vision for Washington Boulevard.

ODA Designs New Detroit Book Tower Rehabilitation ProjectODA Designs New Detroit Book Tower Rehabilitation ProjectCourtesy of bloomimagesODA Designs New Detroit Book Tower Rehabilitation Project+ 7

New Plan Aims to Revamp Midtown Detroit, the City’s Cultural Hub

© Agence Ter, Akoaki, rootoftwo, and Harley Etienne© Agence Ter, Akoaki, rootoftwo, and Harley Etienne© Agence Ter, Akoaki, rootoftwo, and Harley Etienne© Agence Ter, Akoaki, rootoftwo, and Harley Etienne+ 12

A team composed of international and local studios and individuals—Agence Ter, rootoftwo, Akoaki, and Harley Etienne—was recently chosen to revitalize the 83-acre area.

Over the course of the 20th century, across a series of administrations and economic contexts, Midtown Detroit grew into one of America’s largest (or densest) cultural districts, with over 12 major institutions, such as the Detroit Institute for the Arts (DIA) and the College for Creative Studies. But you wouldn’t know it, even if you were there—the nine-block, 83-acre area is a mish-mash of styles spanning Beaux Arts, Modernism, and Brutalism, and has a certain sense of placelessness. The area feels architecturally disjointed, illegible, and fails to translate the vibrancy of each institution into the broader public space.

Schmidt Hammer Lassen's First U.S. Project Breaks Ground in Detroit

Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has broken ground on its first U.S. project, a mixed-use tower and associated masterplan in Detroit, Michigan. “Monroe Blocks” will stitch together the heart of one of America’s most storied cities with a mix of modern office space, residential units, restaurants, retail, and outdoor public areas.

The 12,500-square-meter site in Detroit’s Campus Martius Park, vacant for a generation, will be activated by 4,800 square meters of outdoor space, with the design team drawing on historical influences for the form and materiality of the new masterplan.

© Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects© Hayes Davidson© Forbes Massie Studio© Hayes Davidson+ 10

Urbanism that Forgot the Urban: John Portman's Legacy in Detroit

This article was originally published on Common Edge as "Will Detroit ever Fully Recover from John Portman's Renaissance Center?"

Last week I wrote about the anti-urban legacy of architect and developer John Portman. I think it’s worth going into a bit more detail about these projects, since we seem to have learned so little from their failures.

Let’s start with Detroit. The Renaissance Center was one of his largest and most celebrated projects. But this sprawling complex of seven-interconnected skyscrapers poses some difficult questions for urban planners today: can downtown Detroit ever fully recover from this mammoth and ill considered development? And, more importantly, why haven’t other cities learned from its clear and stark lessons?

Mexican Water-Managing Public Space Triumphs in Global LafargeHolcim Awards 2018

Results have been announced for the 5th Global LafargeHolcim Awards for Sustainable Construction, with three women-led teams awarded the gold, silver, and bronze positions. The design competition asked participants to speculate on future methods of balancing environmental performance, social responsibility and economic growth, “exemplifying architectural excellence and a high degree of transferability.”

The competition attracted over 5,000 submissions from 131 countries. Having been regionally assessed by juries in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Middle East/Africa and Asia Pacific, 55 successful proposals were entered for the global awards, where six winning schemes were selected.

Gold Medal: Hydropuncture in Mexico. Image Courtesy of Global LafargeHolcim AwardsSilver Medal: Legacy Restored in Niger. Image Courtesy of Global LafargeHolcim AwardsBronze Medal: Grassroots Microgrid in Michigan. Image Courtesy of Global LafargeHolcim AwardsTerritorial Figure: Acknowledgment and Next Generation Prize Winner. Image Courtesy of Global LafargeHolcim Awards+ 67

Detroit's Waterfront is Setting a Precedent for Community Led Architecture

As the river offers a place of beauty and solitude to the people of Detroit, four international design teams have presented their creative schemes for the West Riverfront to extend this vibrant area in the city as part of an international design competition led by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy (DRFC). The development of the 22-acre West Riverfront Park is expected to cost around $50 million to complete the DRFC’s ultimate vision for 5.5 miles of revitalized riverfront.

The four principal firms include Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN), Hood Design Studio (HDS), James Corner Field Operations and Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates (MVVA) collaborating with numerous Detroit and Michigan- based firms. Each of the teams has collaborated closely with the public to achieve a design that gives justice to the legacy of the people.

True North / EC3

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

The Architect as Educator: Remembering Gunnar Birkerts

Gunnar Birkerts, Latvian-born architect and educator, passed away on August 15, 2017, at the age of 92. A passionate advocate of a creative process he called "organic synthesis," he leaves behind dozens of built works over three continents and influenced hundreds of architectural students and colleagues through his inquiry-based process and dynamic interactions. Eric Hill and John Gallagher, in their AIA Guide to Detroit, said of Birkerts’ architecture:

Each of his works seems to be approached as an opportunity to explore the essence of an architectural problem, resulting in a statement that often exceeds the immediate project.

Gunnar Birkerts in an undated photo. Image via The RepublicCorning Fire Station, New York. Image© <a href=“https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brikerts_Corning_Fire_Station.jpg”>Unknown Wikimedia Author</a> licensed under <a href=“https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/“>CC BY 3.0</a>The Latvian National Library (2014). © <a href=“https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Riga_Petrikirche_Blick_vom_Turm_zur_Nationalbibliothek.JPG”>Wikimedia user Zairon</a> licensed under <a href=“https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/“>CC BY 4.0</a>. Image Courtesy of Wikimedia User Zaironederal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, 1973, (now: Marquette Plaza), in its original configuration.. ImageVia <a href=“https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Marquette_Plaza.jpg”>Wikimedia Commons / Historic American Buildings Survey</a> licensed under <a href=“https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/deed.en“>CC0 1.0 (Public Domain)</a>+ 4

Architectural Adventures: Detroit—Motor City’s Architectural Revival

For most of the 20th century, Detroit was our nation’s economic dynamo. This heritage is reflected in the treasure trove of outstanding historic homes, buildings, and factories that still define the cityscape. While Detroit has struggled into the 21st century, its role as a center for architectural innovation is undiminished. With stunning early 20th-century mansions, grand Art Deco skyscrapers, and surprising mid-century masterpieces, the Motor City has more to offer than most realize. Explore the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Lafayette Park, Eastern Market, private homes, and special projects by local preservation organizations. Learn about how Detroit is rebounding while experiencing the innovative and seminal works of great architects like Eliel Saarinen, Daniel Burnham, Cass Gilbert, John Burgee, Albert Kahn, Minoru Yamasaki, and Mies van der Rohe along the way.