Call for proposals: Detroit is an urban laboratory for the 2016 U.S. Venice Biennale Pavilion

US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Image via designboom.com

US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Image via designboom.com

The curators of the 2016 US Pavilion at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale have announced an open call for proposals for the exhibition The Architectural Imagination. They are looking for speculative projects that use Detroit as a testing ground for new modes of urbanism that could have application around the world.

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Video> Historic hotel demolished to clear way for Detroit’s new Red Wings hockey arena

The abandoned Hotel Eddystone (left) and Park Avenue Hotel (right), near the Masonic Temple; Midtown Detroit. (Aidan Wakely-Mulroney via Flickr)

The abandoned Hotel Eddystone (left) and Park Avenue Hotel (right), near the Masonic Temple; Midtown Detroit. (Aidan Wakely-Mulroney via Flickr)

The implosion of an historic Detroit hotel on Saturday helped clear the way for a $650 million hockey arena that developers say will more than pay for itself in economic ripple effects, but critics see the demolition as the latest casualty of an ill-conceived scheme receiving public financing.

Continue reading after the jump.

Illuminating Detroit: 40,000 LEDs are installed ahead of schedule

Lighting, Midwest, Urbanism
Monday, June 22, 2015
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Detroit at night. (Steve Lietzau via Flickr)

Detroit at night. (Steve Lietzau via Flickr)

Detroit‘s Public Lighting Authority is bringing light back to some dim city neighborhoods, which have been expecting new LED streetlights by the end of the year. Read More

BREAKING: Davidson and Ponce de Leon to Curate the U.S. Pavilion Exhibition in the 15th International Architecture Biennale in Venice

2014 US Pavilion at Venice Biennale. (Image via yellowtrace.com.au)

2014 US Pavilion at Venice Biennale. (Image via yellowtrace.com.au)

Call it the Floating City meets Motor City. The U.S. Department of State selected the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan to organize the exhibition of the United States Pavilion in the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale. Curators Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon take Detroit as their starting point. Out of the ashes of Motown and Ford comes an urban archetype that provokes the exhibition title: “The Architectural Imagination.”
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On View> When the Future had Fins: American Automotive Designs and Concepts, 1959-1973

Design, On View, Transportation, West
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
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(All images courtesy Christopher West Mount Gallery)

(All images courtesy Christopher West Mount Gallery)

When the Future had Fins: American Automotive Designs and Concepts, 1959-1973
Christopher West Mount Gallery, Pacific Design Center
8687 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA
Through May 20

Once upon a time the American car industry was king. Nothing captures the prestige, aspirations, and mythology of Detroit’s heyday quite like the working sketches and drawings used to develop and promote the land boats we used to call automobiles.

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Pittsburgh, Washington, Buffalo lead nation in growth of bicycle commuters

Detroit's 2nd Avenue is the target of a substantial road diet that may include the Motor City's first buffered bike lanes. (Curbed Detroit)

Detroit’s 2nd Avenue is the target of a substantial road diet that may include the Motor City’s first buffered bike lanes. (Curbed Detroit)

Portland still dominates the American Community Survey ranking the 70 largest cities with the highest share of bike commuters, but the list shakes up some preconceptions when you count which cities had the largest growth in the share of bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2013. Read More

Pictorial> Take a tour of Paul Rudolph’s only house in Detroit

Architecture, Midwest
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
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(Michelle & Chris Gerard)

(Michelle & Chris Gerard)

Today, AN reported on Detroit’s lone house designed by architect Paul Rudolph called the Parcells House. According to our article, “The waterfront home faces Lake Saint Clair and was designed to give waterfront views to almost every room. As the home sits on a lot at the end of a cul-de-sac where heavy plantings and trees cover the driveway and maintain privacy, it is, for the most part, only viewable by boat.” Check out a slideshow of the inside and outside of the house below and be sure to learn more about the property, currently on the market, over here.

View the slideshow after the jump.

Detroit’s infamous theater-turned-parking garage sold at auction

Detroit's crumbling Michigan Theatre has fallen into disrepair since its 1926 construction. (Hermann Schleicher-Roevenstrunck via Flickr)

Detroit’s Michigan Theatre has fallen into disrepair since its 1926 construction. (Hermann Schleicher-Roevenstrunck via Flickr)

Detroit’s Michigan Theatre remains iconic, but not for the reasons that made it so during its early 20th century heyday. Now the opulent 1926 concert hall holds parked cars instead of theater-goers. Will it remain a symbol of Detroit’s struggle to recover from long-term disinvestment, or could it become emblematic of the city’s resilience?

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Detroit “Reanimate the Ruins” Ideas Competition Tackles Historic Packard Automotive Plant

1st-Place-2

The competition winning proposal, Cross the Plant, by Vincent Lavergne.

In 2009, vandals pushed a dump truck through a hole in the wall on the fourth story of the abandoned Packard Automotive Plant in Detroit. (Of course there’s a video.) It’s a level of dereliction and decay that’s frankly common to North America’s foremost basket-case city, but it’s made a bit more poignant by the fact that the plant (built in 1907 and closed in the late ’90s) was once an icon of Detroit’s command over automotive technology and the automotive industry. The 3.5-million-square-foot facility was designed by Albert Kahn to produce luxury cars, and was the first of its type to use a reinforced concrete structure.

But now it’s time for some more creative thinking about how to use the Packard site.

Letter to the Editor> Motor City Mouthful

Detroit's Michigan Central Station. (Juan N Only / Flickr)

Detroit’s Michigan Central Station. (Juan N Only / Flickr)

[Editor’s Note: The following comment was left on archpaper.com in response to the editorial “Motoring Toward Destruction?” (AN 08_06.05.2014), which parsed the wisdom of Detroit’s blight removal program.Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com. ]

I’m failing to find a thesis in here, other than wholesale demolition = bad, which is something we’re well aware of. Other considerations that weren’t even mentioned in this are aspects of public safety (arson and the use of dilapidated structures in which to commit crimes, peddle drugs, etc.) and the question of revenue (clearing blighted structures for redevelopment). The article even mentions that of the 80,000 blighted structures, we’re attempting to save more than half.

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Detroit doubles down on startups and young creatives with new “innovation district”

Detroit, on the water. (Image courtesy Bernt Rostad via Flickr.)

Detroit (Image courtesy Bernt Rostad via Flickr)

As Detroit nears the one year anniversary of the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history, creative professionals in a busy downtown corridor are the target of a Washington, D.C.–funded “innovation district” that hopes startups will rev Detroit’s stalled economic engine. Read More

Frustrated transit advocates blast ballot delay by Detroit’s Regional Transit Agency

detroit_light_rail_01

Detroiters have heard before that the Motor City could see better mass transit as soon as 2015. Local and state leaders came together in 2012 to form the area’s first regional transit agency (RTA), but Streetsblog reported locals are losing patience with Michigan’s newest RTA.

More after the jump.

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