Narrative round tres by bboss1
April.28.2009, 1:11 am
Filed under: Competition


When a city experiences mass exodus; when rats and humans eat from the same dumpster and share the same inhabitable arenas, “The problem of urban growth and decay is greater than the individual building.” The scope of our project is manifold; it investigates the lifecycle of a community, an elementary school, and a city. Detroit is a collapsing city.

A ‘node’ in the global auto network.

In a networked society, when an industry mutates or shifts, all nodes of that network transform regardless of scale. Detroit, the largest node of automobile production in 20th century America, is now seeing astronomical economic decline resulting in the symptomatic decay of its urban core. The emerging “nervous system” of Detroit’s population is in a state of shock. It is one of poverty, violence, illness, and hunger; evident in a 55% poverty rate among children. The solution is rooted in education and extraction of the multiple intelligences present in the community environment. We are proposing the notion of urban farming as part of the rehabilitation process for Detroit’s decaying urban fabric by interjecting agricultural areas into the inner city. Members of the neighborhood and surrounding community will learn to grow together and help one another, leading to a different condition of inspiration and involvement.

In order for improvement to take place, a real change must be made in the way Detroit’s inhabitants live, work, and grow together. Our site functions as both an elementary school and a community development center. The school grounds contain an “eco-blot” which is used to grow natural produce and indigenous plant life. As part of a school curriculum centered upon multiple intelligence learning, students are given the opportunity to witness and understand an ecosystem’s lifecycle from the planting stage through harvesting. Tactile outdoor learning and kinesthetic activity take place among the context of plant ecology. A child’s school lunch is supplemented by food grown on site. The child’s guardian is then inspired to use a portion of their yard to create sustenance of their own. Local community members come to the site to understand how to grow vegetables and tend to a plot of land within the school’s eco-blot.

The building itself is constructed as a weaved steel structure which occupies two previously abandoned buildings and is composed of customized steel members produced through a retooled local manufacturing sector. The density of the weave is proportional to the load bearing on it in any given area much like the trabeculae of a bone densifies according to internal and external forces.

As the lifestyle catalyzed by our building begins to take hold of the greater community, our method of weaving intelligences and weaving structure through existing buildings in decay begins to spread across the city inhabiting old abandoned buildings in a mutualistic manor, whereby creating a symbiotic effect between existing structure and the realignment of urban networks. This will divert the destruction of many of Detroit’s abandoned buildings while at the same time stimulating the local economy and putting people back to work, thereby igniting the next phase in the lifecycle of Detroit.


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