Posts tagged with "Detroit":

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Detroit’s Heidelberg Project forced to move headquarters

Detroit’s enigmatic Heidelberg Project (HD) has become a victim of its own success. The urban art project, which is known for turning entire city blocks and vacant houses into art pieces, must move its headquarters. After eight and a half years in a large space in Detroit’s Midtown, the non-profit is packing up as the building was sold in December for $1.2 million, well more than the project could afford. Always the optimists, the timing may be serendipitous as HD is in the midst of a change in direction. Called Heidelberg 3.0, the new plan is to engage with the community even more than in the past. The project has also recently gone through a change of leadership with Jenenne Whitfield, the founder Tyree Guyton’s wife, becoming the CEO and president. “Detroit is changing. Its neighborhoods are changing and Midtown is a prime example,” said Whitfield in a press statement. “When we came to the neighborhood in 2009, the buildings around us were vacant and run-down as evidenced by the building adjacent to us. The Heidelberg Project brought an energy and a creativity that certainly contributed to the new energy that the Midtown area is experiencing today. While we made an effort to purchase the building, the realities of the market are beyond the reach of our non-profit arts organization.” Currently, the main portion of the project, which attracts an estimated 200,000 visitors a year, is being packed up and readied for storage. While the plan is to eventually relaunch the project, for the time being much of the artwork created by Guyton since 1986 will be out of public view. These changes, though daunting, are still far from the most adversity that the Heidelberg project has been up against. Since 2013, a string of over a dozen acts of arson destroyed portions of the project. Perhaps the latest news will complete the phoenix-like story of this one-of-a-kind urban experience.
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New plans revealed for Detroit’s East Riverfront

The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy (DRFC), the City of Detorit Planning & Development Department, and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) announced the latest plans to expand Detroit’s riverfront land for public use. SOM has been working on the strategic framework plan for the East Riverfront since the Spring of 2016. Six local firms, including McIntosh Poris, Giffels Webster, Kraemer Design Group, AKT Peerless, Rich & Associates, and E. Austell Associates, also provided significant consulting throughout the planning stages. “We’ve had tremendous input from the community throughout the planning process,” said Mark Wallace, president & CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. “The East Riverfront is a special place for all Detroiters, particularly families and the elderly. This plan builds on the lessons we have learned since opening up the RiverWalk in 2007.” The plan calls for the transformation of the former industrial area into a public waterfront. One of the most significant aspects of the scheme is a large swath of the riverfront that will be designated as parkland, indefinitely free from development. This area includes three sites that were previously slated for private development. New greenways will also connect several east side neighborhoods to the RiverWalk. Surrounding streets will also receive improvements in the plan, including more bike and pedestrian-friendly amenities to better connect the neighborhoods immediately to the north. Much of the work is expected to begin in the next few months. The first steps will include streetscape and promenade improvements. Along with the announced plan, the DEGC released an RFP asking for ideas for the adaptive reuse of the Stone Soup Building. The city is hoping to redevelop the historic riverfront structure into a dense mixed-use project. “The riverfront belongs to all Detroiters,” said Maurice D. Cox, director of the City of Detroit Planning & Development Department. “Thanks to the involvement of hundreds of residents, we have principles that frame an international riverfront that can be accessed and enjoyed by all.”
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52-story SHoP-designed tower revealed for downtown Detroit

New York City-based SHoP Architects, working with Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates, has released new information and renderings of a two-acre site in downtown Detroit. It has been some time since we have seen any new developments for the former site of the J.L. Hudson’s Department Store and the fewer details about what was planned for the site has had Detroiters more than a bit curious. With this latest revelation, Detroit is looking at a much larger project than initially thought. “The driving force behind our design for the Hudson's site is to create a building that speaks to the rebirth of optimism in the city's future and an experiential destination that positively impacts Detroit in a meaningful way,” said William Sharples, principal at SHoP, in a press release. “The building is conceived around a huge and inspiring new public space, a year-round civic square that, both in its architecture and its culture, will foster and convey the feeling we all share when we work together to imagine what this great city can become.” The site of the new development was once home to one of Detroit’s largest retailers, Hudson's. The 25-story department store was at one time the tallest department story in the world. At over two million square feet, it was the anchor of the thriving Woodward avenue shopping corridor. With the declining economic state of Detroit in the 1970s, not even the retail giant could survive. The store was closed in 1983 and the building eventually imploded in 1998. Bedrock, the real estate firm co-founded by Detroit native Dan Gilbert, are developing the site. “Our goal is to create a development that exceeds the economic and experiential impact even Hudson’s had on the city. We believe this project is so unique that it can help put Detroit back on the national—and even global—map for world-class architecture, talent attraction, technology innovation and job creation,” explained Gilbert as part of the announcement. The Downtown Development Authority has approved a timeline which sets the ground breaking for the development on December 1st, 2017.
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Detroit Lions reveal $44 million interiors revamp for Ford Field

The Detroit Lions have unveiled designs for a $44 million renovation of Ford Field’s hospitality areas. Leading the design is Detroit-based ROSSETTI. The firm was also responsible for the original design of the stadium, which opened in 2002. The comprehensive renovation will affect every aspect of the fan experience throughout the stadium. A total of 210,000 square feet—from large social clubs to suites and loges—will be included in the project. The Lions brand and the slogan ("Nothing Stops Detroit") are guiding the graphic concepts throughout the renovation. The spaces will be filled with layers of the team’s logo and graphics, along with textures, furniture, finishes, and curated displays which will be constructed by local craftsman and artisans. “We used many innovative concepts for Ford Field when we originally designed the stadium and that’s why it has stood the test of time,” said Jim Renne, sports principal at ROSSETTI and lead designer of the original stadium, in an announcement. “We’re thrilled to bring our knowledge about entertainment venues garnered from designing facilities around the world back to our hometown. Our goal has been to bring the fan experience up to standards and beyond while customizing the design for Detroit.” The design team was inspired by the surrounding neighborhood and urban setting of the stadium. Lighting, materiality, and details were created to “feel familiar yet will be completely different for fans.” The southern side of the project takes cues from Detroit’s history, while the northern side is influenced by the auto industry and midcentury modern design. The renovation is expected to be complete in August 2017, in time for the opening of the 2017/2018 NFL season. Along with the interior, the stadium will also receive scoreboard and technology upgrades.
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Detroit Creative Corridor Center receives $1 million grant

The Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) is developing an economic development and civic engagement strategy with the help of a $1 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The DC3 stewards the City of Detroit’s UNESCO City of Design designation, which will play an important role in the center’s multi-year initiative. Using practices outlined by the UNESCO network, DC3 will work with the local community and creative industries to strengthen Detroit’s economy. The center believes that design is more than a simple luxury and that it plays a vital role in the socio-economic well-being in the city. DC3 engages designers from disciplines ranging from graphic design through architectures. “The Detroit City of Design campaign will include activities to raise public awareness about the value of design and creative industries, promote an international exchange of designers and ideas, and increase opportunities for Detroit’s creative community,” said Olga Stella, executive director of DC3 in a press release. “By breaking down silos between communities, business sectors, and creative disciplines, we will build a broad and diverse coalition to champion the role of design and creativity in driving equitable and sustainable development in Detroit.” DC3 will work extensively on a 10-year vision for the Detroit City of Design. The year-long planning process is supported by a $150,000 award from the Kresge Foundation. Another $100,000 award was presented by the William Davidson Foundation specifically to support the engagement of residents, creative practitioners, businesses, and local organizations. Along with the funding from the Knight Foundation, DC3 hopes to put Detroit’s design community in a unique position within the city and the country. “This initiative is a huge opportunity for Detroit to distinguish itself from other design cities by focusing on removing barriers to opportunity in Detroit’s creative industries and creating a benefit for the entire community,” said Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director for Detroit. “We hope to advance a broad understanding of city design as a pathway for success, and demonstrate its impact on growing jobs and businesses, as well as creating the kinds of neighborhoods where people want to live.” Along with setting the groundwork a more robust design community, Detroit will be showcased internationally later this spring. DC3 and its partners, Creative Many Michigan and Akoaki, will all be a part of the upcoming Saint-Étienne International Design Biennial in Saint-Etienne, France, where they will present work internationally for the first time since the Detroit was named a UNESCO City of Design. The Biennial’s theme, the future of work, will guide DC3’s exhibition entitled Footwork: The Choreography of Collaboration. Curated by the Public Design Trust, the exhibition will examine the role of networked economies in Detroit.
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Detroit citizens take preservation into their own hands to save a historic Negro League stadium

Automobiles and baseball: Not much else is more American. And Detroit has been defined by both for the last 100 years. Notably, Detroit was one of the most important cities in the negro baseball leagues of the first half of the 20th century. Hamtramck, a town surrounded by the city of Detroit, is home to one of the last remaining Negro League stadiums, along with Birmingham, Alabama, Paterson, New Jersey, and Indianapolis, Indiana. Now, after years of neglect, the Hamtramck Stadium may see America’s favorite pastime once again.

It all started six years ago when a group of baseball-loving Detroiters decided to save, at the very least, the memory of Navin Field. Located in the Corktown neighborhood, Navin Field was home of the Detroit Tigers from 1912 through 1999. Despite being a Michigan Historic Site and on the National Register of Historic Places, the field was razed in 2009. The land was quickly overgrown and, as a result, the Navin Field Grounds Crew was founded. After repeatedly being chased off by the police, the NFGC eventually convinced the city to maintain the diamond on the site of the old stadium.

The NFGC is made up of volunteers and is funded completely out of the pockets of those volunteers. Even so, the crew has been out at the Navin Field diamond most Sundays for the last six years. Now they are taking on a new challenge, revitalizing the Hamtramck Stadium. As with Navin Field, the crew plans to roll out their personal lawn mowers and rakes, and get to work this spring.

The difference this time is that the NFGC won’t be alone its efforts. In January, the National Parks Service announced a $50,000 African American Civil Rights Grant for the redevelopment the stadium. Even before that, a new group, Friends of the Hamtramck Stadium, was making plans to raise funds this coming summer to repair the stadium’s grandstand. 

Built in 1930, the Hamtramck Stadium was home to the Detroit Stars and Detroit Wolves throughout the 1930s. The site of the 1930 Negro National League Championship Series, the stadium saw its share of famous baseball players, including Satchel Paige and Cool Papa Bell. The stadium was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. Currently, the stadium is in the configuration that was established in the 1970s. The main remaining structure, a large grandstand, has not been used since the 1990s.

Like Navin Field, the hope is to bring baseball back to the neighborhood. As originally built, the Hamtramck Stadium could hold upward of 8,000 spectators. Much of the grandstand is original, but over the years it has been reduced from its original size and is now able to hold about 1,500 spectators.

The stadium wouldn’t be the first in Hamtramck to be revitalized. Last year the Detroit City FC soccer team redeveloped the Keyworth Stadium, bringing another classic civic space back to life. In a time when nearly $2 billion is being spent in Detroit’s downtown to build the Little Caesars Arena and entertainment district, Detroiters are demonstrating what they really value with their lawn mowers and weekends.

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Milton S. F. Curry, associate dean at Taubman College, on race, class, public education, and the future of architecture

The following letter was sent to The Architect’s Newspaper in response to the current debate, at local and national levels, about public education, in and out of the field of architecture. The author, Milton S. F. Curry, is the Associate Dean at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and the Director of Michigan Architecture Prep ARCHITECTURE AND PUBLIC EDUCATION: CULTIVATING CREATIVE POTENTIAL In University of Michigan President James B. Angell’s Commencement Address on June 26, 1879, he stated  “The most democratic atmosphere in the world is that of the college. There all meet on absolutely equal terms. Nowhere else do accidents of birth or condition count for so little.” Ezra Cornell stated in his address at the opening of Cornell University on October 7, 1868, “I hope that we have laid the foundation of an institution which shall combine practical with liberal education, which shall fit the youth of our country for the professions, the farms, the mines, the manufactories, for the investigations of science, and for mastering all the practical questions of life with success and honor.... I trust we have laid the foundation of [a] university—‘an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.’” These words are not merely rhetorical flourishes, they are ideological imperatives that buttress some of our superb world-class public and private universities and institutions and by extension our collective belief in an egalitarian system of public education that educates all, no matter what one’s lot in life. The Michigan Architecture Preparatory Program—an architecture enrichment program based in Detroit and supported by the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning—leverages the institution’s public ethos by engaging high school juniors in a studio-based architecture and college preparatory academic program. The program—one of the few of its kind to commit to a half-day full semester program with high school students—is an exemplar in leveraging university-level thinking towards enriching the secondary education of students in a large urban public school district. The field of architecture is expected to grow by 17 percent between now and 2022 (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Yet as of 2008, only 1.5 percent of American architects were African-American, despite comprising 12 to 13 percent of the total U.S. population. This fact alone—virtually unchanged since I was a junior in high school, accounting for population growth and demographic growth among minority populations since the 1960s—should precipitate crisis-level response from our educational and professional institutions and accrediting bodies. But it hasn’t. Attracting diverse students, retaining them and supporting their academic success and professional development is challenging in architecture for several reasons: 1) unique residential segregation by class and race in the U.S. which leads to sizable gaps in academic achievement by twelfth grade—evidence shows that residential segregation and segregation in the nation’s public school system has gotten worse since the 1970s when desegregation plans were enforced by state and federal offices for civil rights; 2) lack of sufficient cultivation of “successful mindsets” among underrepresented minorities and marginalized populations and groups, 3) lack of “critical mass” of underrepresented minorities and other marginalized groups—making it more difficult to develop a sense of well-being and belonging, and 4) the focus on “identifying talent” versus “cultivating potential” in trying to articulate and sell the value of an architecture education to minorities and marginalized populations. The discipline of architecture alone cannot alter the systemic and exclusionary forces that have resulted in the current situation in which architecture students, and top-tier university students as a whole, are much wealthier and more ethnically and racially homogeneous than the population at large. Yet precisely because of our legacy of studio-based educational pedagogy and the capacious way in which architects can receive a broad liberal arts education while simultaneously becoming experts in visual and spatial aspects of conceptualizing and making physical and virtual objects at all scales, we are uniquely qualified to make substantive interventions in the public education landscape at this moment in American history. Detroit students, like so many students in large urban school districts, need more opportunities to expand their creative horizons beyond the traditional classroom. At a time when the twin forces of efficiency and technocracy translate into more mechanized test-taking and quantitative metrics of evaluation, an architectural way of thinking and making can unleash creative potential in students who have been all but written off because their way of learning and their cultural forms of expression and knowledge exchange do not comport to middle-class values and norms. Our democracy depends upon quality public educational institutions to educate the country’s diverse population. Privatization and defunding of public education strike at the heart of our social compact and our racial history as a nation. Our current political debates about the growth of charter schools and voucher schemes and the privatization of public schools as alternatives to underperforming public schools must be subjected to fact-based analysis. As U. S. Senator Elizabeth Warren stated in her January 9, 2017, letter to U. S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, “Today’s voucher schemes can be just as harmful to public school district budgets, because they often leave school districts with less funding to teach the most disadvantaged.” With just 58 percent third-grade reading proficiency in Detroit Public Schools, as reported by the Detroit Chamber of Commerce State of the Region Report 2016-17, clearly there is a necessity to improve performance in Detroit and other urban school districts. But this urgency need not result in opportunistic formulations that lead to random shuttering of neighborhood schools or a turn to online education as a panacea for the problem of effective knowledge exchange in K-12 education. The collective energy and monies spent trying to influence politicians and create a parallel system of unregulated publicly-funded private charter schools would be better spent facilitating smaller classrooms, empowering quality teachers to teach meaningful content as opposed to ‘teaching to the test,’ and paying teachers for the value that they are expected to provide. Individual and collective identities—understood in the context of historical legacies of exclusion and marginalization—are directly connected to life outcomes. Detroit students, like so many students in large urban school districts, need more opportunities to expand their creative horizons beyond the traditional classroom. Without a critical mass of representation from women, Black Americans, Latinos and Hispanics, and others who have been systematically underrepresented in the discipline of architecture, the discipline will continue to underserve not only the communities from which these persons emanate, but the entire polity. The context for the production of art and architecture today is shifting—because people want to understand themselves as not only having a stake in the cities they live in—and they want to be involved in how they are designed and developed. I anticipate a new generational critique of the exclusion of our disciplines to underrepresented minorities and lower-class citizens globally; and a renewed sense of participation in thinking anew about the very institutional structures that enforce elitism and exclusion. Detroit Public Schools Community District students who participate in the Michigan Architecture Preparatory Program—unlike the caricatures of them that get publicized in the media—are motivated to learn and eager to be intellectually challenged. I have witnessed this with my own eyes. They—many of the over 130 students who have matriculated through our program—are better equipped to succeed in college and better prepared for the cultural shift from an urban high school to a top-tier public or private university. How do I know? I know this because we have students who have matriculated through the program who are now enrolled at the University of Michigan, Lawrence Technical University, Michigan State University and other institutions, and they tell us that our program helped propel them to grow their mindsets and to more quickly assess the own “knowledge landscape” for gaps and to correct for those gaps quickly and proactively. Project-based learning coupled with focused basic proficiencies can more quickly propel motivated and unmotivated students to aspire to their own academic achievement—this is what we have found in our five semesters of operating the Michigan Architecture Preparatory Program. Smaller class size, intense student-teacher interaction, and iterative-based design projects that incorporate applied geometry and visual arts are the core of our program. Their design projects are infused with lesson plans on social movements and the relationships between the visual histories of social movements and the space of the city—the integration of humanistic thought, social issues of concern to them and their families, and the study of architecture. Our relative success suggests that these pedagogical innovations can and do work, and that those of us in higher education can learn from them as well as apply many of these design-centered pedagogical approaches into the university context —in architecture and design-related fields but also in the humanities, social sciences, and engineering. Students in our program are not acutely aware of the history of race and class that pervades the city of Detroit. They are not consumed by the massive loss of jobs, the rampant corruption at the hands of countless emergency managers for their school district and for the City of Detroit. They are interested in seeing—that is, believing in—a vision of the future for themselves that is possible and achievable. They are less interested in platitudes like ‘individual responsibility’ or ‘pulling yourself up by your bootstaps’ than in personal narratives of persons like them who have started their own business or charted a nonlinear path from high school to a seat in an architecture firm doing what they love and what they are passionate about. As Marshall Brown stated in our Fall 2016 Graduation Ceremony, “Architecture can take you places—geographically, mentally, and intellectually.” When I was the age of our students—a high school student growing up in Central California to upper middle class parents, yet living among working class Black Californians, and being bused to predominantly white public schools during the heyday of school desegregation—I valued diversity even though it meant enduring psychological trauma at the hands of racist teachers. The wager that was available for me, my parents, and so many of my contemporaries was to seize the high level of intellectual content accompanied by abject racism or settle for low-quality educational options with a homogeneous Black community (largely poor and working class). With Black wealth at fractional percentages of white wealth, the Black middle-class today, 2017, is relegated to the many of the same schools and school districts as their working class and poor counterparts. Because of my background of inhabiting several worlds simultaneously, I celebrate cross-class and interracial learning environments as some of the most stimulating forums of cross-cultural knowledge exchange and one in which the research has shown are best at producing a leveling of the playing field in terms of matching Black and Latino academic achievement with their white counterparts. The methodology of public education—one that used to be focused on high-performance and outcomes that provide a pathway to college—has shifted to become more focused on accepting society’s conception of poor and working class and minority students as irreparably damaged by their station in life and their own bad luck. What flows from these conceptions are a tamping down of expectations and a “settler” mentality that these students should be educated, but the threshold of education that they deserve is related to the individual choices that their parents made and on the available resources that society is willing to part with to help them along. This is not helped by an accelerated white flight currently taking place whereby white families are fleeing schools with the largest minority student populations.  To counter these efforts, universities must become more engaged in leveraging their resources and intellectual capital to create expanded opportunities for the nation’s most vulnerable children—those in high-poverty and monolithically minority-populated urban metro areas and those in rural areas. Based on our experience at the University of Michigan, this is the best way to extend our values and assist in what has to be a massive crisis-level response to the failure of our public educational system to live up to our aspirations as well as the historical success that was achieved in other periods of our history—when public schools were very good and when public university systems were recognized and funded as a public good. More information on the University of Michigan Michigan Architecture Preparatory Program can be found here.
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2016 Venice Biennale U.S. Pavilion to go on display in Detroit

The Architectural Imagination, the exhibition from the U.S. Pavilion of the 2016 Venice Biennale, is returning to the United States. Opening on February 11th at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the exhibition will bring the 12 proposed projects for Detroit back to their home city. Organized by the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and curated by Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon, the exhibition was first shown at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale. The show advocates for the power of architecture to construct culture and catalyze cities, with Detroit as the setting for a larger conversation about world cities. Projects in the show are presented through large models, drawings, and interactive virtual reality. The show includes work by; A(n) Office, Detroit, Michigan Marcelo López-Dinardi; V. Mitch McEwen BairBalliet, Columbus, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois Kelly Bair; Kristy Balliet Greg Lynn FORM, Los Angeles, California Greg Lynn Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, Atlanta, Georgia Mack Scogin; Merrill Elam Marshall Brown Projects, Chicago, Illinois Marshall Brown MOS Architects, New York, New York Hilary Sample; Michael Meredith Pita & Bloom, Los Angeles, California Florencia Pita; Jackilin Hah Bloom Present Future, Houston, Texas Albert Pope; Jesús Vassallo Preston Scott Cohen Inc., Boston, Massachusetts Preston Scott Cohen SAA/Stan Allen Architect, New York, New York Stan Allen T+E+A+M, Ann Arbor, Michigan Thom Moran; Ellie Abrons; Adam Fure; Meredith Miller Zago Architecture, Los Angeles, California Andrew Zago; Laura Bouwman The opening of the exhibition will include an introduction by Dean Robert Fishman of the Taubman College and a presentation by exhibition curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon. The exhibition will be on show from February 11th through April 16th, 2017, and will be free to the public at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 4454 Woodward Ave., Detroit, Michigan.
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Motown Museum prepares for major $50 million expansion

Hitsville U.S.A., the home of Motown Records and the Motown Museum in Detroit, Michigan, is on the road to a major expansion. When completed, the Motown Museum will have an additional 50,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, a state-of-the-art performance theater, new recording studios, more retail space, and additional meeting spaces. The design for the addition is being led by Phil Freelon of Perkins+Will, in collaboration with Detroit-based architect of record Hamilton Anderson Associates. The visitor experience and exhibitions are being designed by Maryland-based Gallagher & Associates. Phil Freelon’s work for Perkins+Will often focuses on highlighting the contributions of African Americans to American history and culture. Freelon was part of the team that designed the recently completed National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. “What has been happening in the U.S. for the last 24 months reminds me of the social and political upheaval of the late 1960s,” says Freelon in a press release. “It is critical that we as a nation see past our differences, focus on our commonalities, and unite to advance a single, shared cause: equality for all Americans.” The Motown Museum will take this vision of the past seriously be preserving the original Hitsville house, with a campus of buildings around the iconic location. The city, design team, and the museum see the $50 million project as more than just an investment in the museum. The hope is that the expansion will have a very real impact on the surrounding community and Detroit as a whole, bring jobs, tourists, and pride to the New Center neighborhood. “Our goal is to bring the expanded Motown Museum to the world, to inspire dreams and serve as an educational resource for global and local communities while creating an international mecca of music and entertainment history,” said Romin R. Terry, chairwoman and CEP of the Motown Museum. “This expanded facility will be an exhilarating national and international tourist destination which will allow us to narrate and celebrate on a much larger scale what the Motown legacy is recognized for: Unmatched creative genius that transcends every barrier imaginable by bringing people together from all walks of life to share that unmistakable Motown sound.”
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Detroit designers head to France for design biennale

More than 40 Detroit design firms and organizations will be featured in La Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Étienne 2017. The 10th iteration of the international design show will take place throughout the month of March, and is entitled "Working Promesse." Detroit will be represented in three independent-but-connected exhibitions; the show has taken the future of work as its theme. Over 60 Detroiters will travel to France to present work, perform, and participate in panel discussions. A Detroit gift shop and “Detroit-style” coffee shop will be set up to serve Detroit dishes to the international crowd. One year ago Detroit was named a UNESCO City of Design, the first and only in the United States. Since then, organizations have capitalized on the designation by raising the profile of Detroit as a center for design. One of those organizations—the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3)—will play a leading role in the Biennale. “As a result of the UNESCO designation, we have this unique opportunity to elevate Detroit’s perspective to a global audience,” said Olga Stella, executive director of DC3 in a press statement. “This is just the beginning of future collaborations between Detroit and other international cities on the pressing issues that face our communities.” For the Biennale, DC3 will present Footwork, which will look at the unconventional collaborations between Detroit’s corporate, grassroots, and civic design organizations. The exhibit will be curated by Public Design Trust and will include experimental processes and products including the upcycling furniture prototype Future Foam, developed by Thing Thing. Other work by students from the College for Creative Studies and collaborations with corporate groups such as Henry Ford Innovation Institute, Carhartt, and Detroit Bikes will be featured as well. Akoaki Studio will create a carte blanche exhibition entitled Out of Site, which will address how Detroit’s residents are reinventing how they live and work. In a series of full-scale installations, artist and musicians will work with DetroitAfrikan Music Institution and French musicians. La Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Étienne will be held in Saint-Étienne, France, from March 9th through April 9th.
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Shipping container “Globe Theater” proposed for Detroit

Angus Vail, a rock music business manager from New Zealand, wants to build a Shakespearean Globe Theater in Detroit. But rather than a heavy timber and plaster structure, like the 16th century version, he wants to build it out of shipping containers. Working with New York-based Perkins Eastman, Vail has conceived of a theater in the round that could host everything from Shakespeare to punk rock, both of his passions. Near the same dimensions as the original, the Container Globe would be constructed primarily out of 20-foot shipping containers. These containers would be cut to provided box seating, while additional 40-foot containers would make up the thrust stage. Walkways and stairwells would surround the seating, also like the original layout. The entire structure would then be wrapped in a flexible steel mesh. Vail has experience in working with containers, including a performance and arts pop-up in Jersey City. His career in the music industry has also given him insight into another possibly of the Container Globe: It could be mobile. Like many large stage shows, the Container Globe would be able to be broken down, packed up, and shipped to its next engagement. Vail says the main advantage of this is that it can be brought into under-served neighborhoods, where access to the performing art may be lacking. Initial renderings show the Container Globe in front of Detroit’s vacant Michigan Central Station. While Vail has named a handful of possible locations for the project, Detroit seems to be at the top of the list. And through the plan is to make the theater mobile, it has not been ruled out that it would be a permanent structure, with multiples of it built around the world. Currently, the team working to bring the Container Globe together is planning a crowdfunding campaign for early this year. A gallery exhibition is also in the works and set to open on February 2nd at ORA Gallery in New York, a gallery dedicated to New Zealand art and design.
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Two Detroit art deco icons to be redeveloped and preserved

Two of Detroit’s iconic art deco buildings are getting some much-needed love from their new owners. The Fisher Building and the Albert Kahn Building in the New Center area will be getting an injection of $100 million in redevelopment, according to the Detroit News. The Fisher Building is a National Historic Landmark and on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The 30-story building was completed in 1928, and was credited with helping spur the development of New Center. Designed by Joseph Nathaniel French of Albert Kahn Associates, the original plan was to construct a three-building complex of two 30-story towers and one 60-story tower. The Great Depression hit shortly after the completion of the building, dooming that plan. It is said that French took cues from Elial Saarinen’s second place design for the Chicago Tribune Tower when designing the Fisher Building. Along with the highly ornate 2,089-seat Fisher Theatre, the building also includes a three-story barrel-vaulted lobby which is decorated in mosaics and tiles made of 40 different types of marble. The new owners, development company The Platform, plan to focus on bringing more retail and hospitality back to the building. Also owned by The Platform, the Albert Kahn building, named after its architect, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well. Located near the Fisher Building, the two buildings are connected by two underground pedestrian tunnels. Currently, the building is laid out as office space, 30% of which is full. The plan for the building's redevelopment includes bringing retail back to the base and converting the upper levels into over 150 new rental apartments. Detroit-based Albert Kahn Associates, current tenants in the building, will continue to have its main office after the renovation. The redevelopment of these two buildings is in anticipation that surrounding neighborhood, which has seen recent growth, will soon look to the New Center area for more space. Along with available building stock for redevelopment, the under construction QLine (Detroit’s future light rail) will also run directly from New Center to the downtown. Other developments in the area include an outpatient cancer center to be built by Henry Ford Hospital and the expansion of the Motown Museum. While many details, including tenants and specific designs, have not been released yet, it is anticipated that construction will begin the Fisher and Kahn buildings in mid-to-late 2017.