Date of Award
Master of Architecture (MArch)
Detroit is a city of makers, dreamers and doers. When pushed to the brink the city does not step down, but instead continues to fight through grassroots movements, community advocates and neighborhood innovators. In this way Detroit has regained notoriety, not through corporate industry, banking or sports, but through those residents who have put their own difficulties aside for the betterment of their communities. However, the current economic and social developments in the city are centered around the downtown core of posterity, ignoring the work done by those individuals within the greater community context. In these neighborhoods, where autoworkers once lived in dense residential blocks, the current context cannot be more different; Detroit has created its own urban typology, that of transparency. Remembering the past and looking towards the future, performance and agriculture industries collaborate to form a new town center, void of street walls and automotive centric transportation, unified under a single roof as means of redefining the economic geography of Detroit.
These industries have always had a place in the city, even in the heyday of industry and manufacturing, and now they return to energize the community. Sweeping across Gratiot Avenue, this large horizontal roof collects these industries within it, as did the old auto-plants of the city, centering both economic and social empowerment for the residents of Detroit. There is a constant and active play between market and performance, it is a place for both business and leisure, of learning and making, and of growth and connectivity. The structure brings into play the Detroit vernacular of low, expansive industrial scale with the newly developed direction of transparency, where programs blend into a blur of activity, where performance is both market and Motown, activating and giving space for the rise and expansion of these individual movements.
Located in the neighborhood of Poletown East, the project relies heavily on restructuring the job market and transportation systems. Gratiot Avenue becomes the location of a new BRT line for the city, transporting both people and fresh food, and thus the heart of the structure. Where train tracks once lay connecting these hubs of industry, recreation appears, adding a human focused corridor to a historically automotive focused city. An array of performance spaces, recording booths, and practice rooms mix and interact with the encompassing market, and gathering and breakout spaces are loosely defined as one program or the other. Education acts as a programmatic sponge in the blending of market and performance, while surrounding industrial buildings are reutilized for the means of food and artistic production, all crossing paths under this single lid. Here, roof is both architecture and urbanism, creating a new typology of the town center.
Hostettler, Karin Jane, "No long urban, can't be rural, definitely not suburban : the experience of Detroit" (2019). Masters Theses. 400.
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