April 17, 2013
This project won the 2013 Architizer A+ Jury Award in the Architecture + Economic Crisis category. See the full list of winners here.
Since the economic downturn in 2008, Detroit has been the center of many architectural inquiries. From the voyeuristic photo essays of the city’s post-industrial ruins and vacated houses, to the design competitions and interventions that concentrate revival efforts on specific blighted areas, architects, planners, artists, and locals have shown varying degrees of faith in Detroit’s renaissance. In most cases, such urban renewal efforts have attempted to pick up the pieces and breathe new life into them. Architecture, planning, and landscape design firm Payette has taken a somewhat different approach. The firm began by envisioning something Detroit did not have: a thriving TechTown—an “innovative district,” as they somewhat hesitantly described it—that could catalyze the city’s revival. “We started by imagining what a successful TechTown would look like and analyzed its essential characteristics,” explained Payette principal designer Leon Drachman. “From there, we worked backwards.” More after the jump.