The Detroit Cultural Center complex seeks to absorb and counter existing conditions as a means of connection. By doing this, it will reinvigorate the region and strengthen cultural and geographic bonds.
The project is physically and programmatically broken up into the two primary functions: absorption and counter. These tasks are delegated to the master plan complex and the Detroit Culture Center, respectively.
The basis of these functions is largely a result of three axial divisions. The first axis is Chrysler Freeway. While this street divides the area, it also has the potential to greatly benefit the site. It is the most dense and most diverse source of human interaction with the site, and as such, it is the focus of this strategy. The second axis is Gratiot Avenue. Its importance is derived from its connection to major Detroit venues such as Comerica park, Ford Field, and Campus Martius. The third axis is a newly devised pedestrian path connecting the site and stadium area directly to Lafayette park and the immense residential areas beyond. This will help populate the area with a constant flow of pedestrian traffic.
Absorption: Typically the impact of an expressway on the immediate urban area is seen as damaging, and there have been many ways in which this has been addressed. This has proven to be a somewhat difficult task for professionals and students alike. My approach is to bridge the gap with a streetscape. While it is physically a bridge, its goal is to facilitate social engagement rather than transportation. By doing this, it will mask the expressway’s presence on the site.
Counter: At the same time, expressways have immense value. The exposure it gives an area is without equal. It is just a matter of harnessing this power. By doing this, it is not only possible to provide connection between local neighborhoods, but it is also possible to connect on a regional level. My Culture Center aggressively interacts with the expressway in order to take full advantage of the location.