Category Archives: Competitions

2016 CANstruction: Tetris

For nearly forty years, Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan has fought against hunger and under nourished communities. Through their many programs and partnerships, Gleaners distributes 79,000 meals a day, averaging 34.5 million pounds of food each year.

Hamilton Anderson Associates believes in the mission and vision of Gleaners, and in an effort to help advance their efforts, will participate in the 2016 CANstruction Donation Event. CANstruction is an event that raises awareness and resources to combat hunger. Partnered with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Detroit and Kroger, Gleaners coordinates with metro-area design firms to build canned-food structures to go on display during Midtown’s Noel Night on Saturday, December 3.+

Afterwards, all cans raised go to Gleaners. Since the event’s inception in 1992, more than 25 million pounds of food has been collected.
HAA is excited to participate and work with an outstanding non-profit organization like Gleaners. This year’s theme was “ICONIC” and open to interpretation. What’s more iconic than one of our favorite games, Tetris?



PLATFORM D: Detroit Station for the Arts

RogueHAA recently participated in the “Detroit Station for the Arts” competition. It was intended to rehabilitate the abandoned Detroit’s central station to transform it into a hybrid building full of life, a center for the Arts. Detroit’s legacy was built on the consummation of art and imagination with technical ingenuity. The foresight and craft of Detroit’s past is resurfacing, and has found its arena. By activating Michigan Central Station, this proposal aims to cultivate an industry which is endemic to the city’s being.

Platform D is envisioned as an adaptive reuse development which converts the vacant train station into a hub of creative production. Hotel and residential units fill the ends of the building, while the central corridors are used for art/innovation studios. The 4th-6th floors are flexible use spaces which can host performances, over-sized installations or exhibits. The façade treatment on this floor is transparent, allowing the spaces’ program to be viewed from the street. The upper floors remain loosely programmed with a restaurant overlooking a garden and plaza along the central corridor. The iconic large arched windows remain without glazing to maintain the magnetism of its current condition. The station’s platforms are repurposed into a plaza which can be adapted to different uses. Modified boxcars can be used as art installation spaces and can be rolled into different locations. The plaza terminates in the return of the Amtrak Station.

A culture of production and creation is known globally as a symbol of Detroit, and has arrived at its new home, on PLATFORM D.

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POSITION.  Participation in the Detroit Storefront Design Competition (DSDC) has provoked a series of questions regarding the existing urban conditions in the downtown area, and creative ways to stimulate activity that may plot a course toward significant redevelopment in the city core. Acknowledging both the current economic recession and Detroit’s past difficulties in renovating, occupying, and activating its downtown buildings, we are interested in how seemingly small-scale interventions may be used as interim devices to activate downtown streets and buildings.

QUESTIONS.  Could similar storefront concepts become the high impact and low cost, dynamic interventions necessary for this process?  What type of program or content could maximize the impact of these comparatively small and static venues on the downtown visitors, workers, residents, restaurants and retailers? How can these storefront interventions be organized and implemented to capitalize on existing downtown destination events, such as sports and entertainment, while providing day to day places of interest that engage a broad audience for extended periods of time?  Finally, could these interventions become larger scale urban strategies that lead to further renovation and redevelopment of vacant buildings throughout the downtown area? Continue reading




CONTEXT. Through great effort, Detroit’s sports venues and related organizations have attracted several highly desirable sports championship events.  Detroit recently hosted both the 2006 Superbowl XL and the 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four Championship. These types of events create tremendous opportunities for their host cities to generate revenue and gain positive publicity. Hotels, restaurants, and retail stores all benefit greatly from the influx of spending, and while revenue estimates vary widely, the simple fact is that for cities such as Detroit, these are exceptional opportunities. Publicity is another asset to event hosting. According to one estimate, during the Final Four, Ford received as much as $22.5 million in publicity by having naming rights to the venue that hosted both events. Additionally, on a national scale, positive Detroit publicity is invaluable.

During both events, Detroit created a staged idealization of its urban experience; temporary bars opened in abandoned storefronts and the city lights blazed for one weekend. The riverfront and streetscapes were further animated by city-sponsored entertainment, including free concerts. The spectacle strategy is applied in many other host cities, in part, to provide comfortable urban environments for non-urban visitors. Alive with people, the city appeared occupied and marketable. Detroit excels at hosting such affairs, as evidenced by the success of these events, as well as the The Detroit International Auto Show, The Red Bull Air Race and The Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

But every other day of the year, Detroit struggles. There is great need for viable, creative solutions to the many issues that face the city.  While greater investment, public safety, and schools are obvious long term objectives, as a starting point, street activity and beautification are critical components of a day to day urban vitality. Continue reading

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