Category Archives: Publications


Placement is pleased to announce that “THANKS FOR THE VIEW, MR. MIES” is finally available in print.  “Thanks For the View Mr Mies” is authored by Danielle Aubert, Lana Carver, and Natasha Chandani.  As previously displayed within the MIES Storefront space during the INSIDE LAFAYETTE PARK exhibition, the book includes photos, essays, and ephemera that look inside the lives of the current Lafayette Park residents.  The book is published by Metropolis Books, distributed by D.A.P., and will soon be available in all major bookstores around USA and Europe. Pre-orders on Amazon.

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The Vertical Urban Factory.  Currently on display at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, The Vertical Urban Factory is an independent research project and exhibition curated by architectural historian and critic Nina Rappaport. This traveling display explores historic and modern concepts for the design, structure, mechanization, and socioeconomics of multi-storied factories that are both urban—integrated into cities—and vertical—integrated floor by floor according to programmed manufacturing processes. Divided into three separate zones, the exhibition investigates significant architectural precedents, both built and unbuilt; makes a geo-spatial comparison between Detroit and New York’s (post) industrial inventory; and displays alternative contemporary models that demonstrate the potential environmental, social, and economic benefits from the reintegration of well-programmed vertical factories. Rappaport further suggests that industrialists and urban planners should reconsider the potential for building vertically in cities: “This, in turn, would reinforce and reinvest in the cycles of making, consuming, and recycling as a part of a natural feedback loop in a new sustainable urban spatial paradigm.”

Rappaport’s paradigm combines the desired altruistic 21st century industrial traits: clean, green, light, networked industry spatialized within different vertical, sustainable forms.  The thesis is clear, the research is powerful, and the selected contemporary projects are beautiful, suggesting a myriad of innovative architectural approaches to the vertical manufacturing process. However, one must still question whether verticality is an appropriate industrial paradigm for all urban fabrics. Continue reading

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THE WOODWARD CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT.  Downtown Detroit has authentic character, scale, and intangible intrigue that have captivated national and international audiences for decades.  Most recently, Downtown Detroit completed the Greater Downtown TOD Strategy – a solid plan built upon proven urban principles of mixed use, walkability and transit. High vacancies, along with a small, but growing number of successful independent businesses begin to offer an initial glimpse of the District’s Consumer. The TOD Strategy defines three simple user profiles: Continue reading

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PROJECT.  The Detroit Wildlife Refuge project has been published in the April edition of TOPOS magazine.

CONCEPT. Landscape Urbanism advocates a purposeful discourse between ecological systems, human activities, and the post-industrial landscape, ultimately manifesting in the deliberate celebration of the urban void. This celebration glorifies the interstitial, so that the void is inevitably romanticized by, and is necessary to, the burgeoning Landscape Urbanism profession. Reliance on the void introduces a basic set of dilemmas: In order to focus on the space between buildings, there must be buildings; planning creative programming between infrastructural systems requires existing infrastructure; implementing a proposed hybrid ecology between urban eco-systems and human eco-systems requires human eco-systems. All of these very specific examples result in a single common statement: In order to have an urban void, there first needs to be an urban, or rather a recognizable urban density. Continue reading

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In October 2009, Hamilton Anderson Associates presented the Detroit School of Arts at the Arts Schools Network Conference in Washington D.C.

Located in Detroit’s Midtown District, the Detroit School of Arts (DSA) is a progressive high school of choice, offering a dual-focus curriculum in the fine / performing arts and broadcast/media arts. The DSA brings an innovative educational approach to the Detroit Public School district, blending college prep within a dynamic and interactive learning environment.

The six-story building features many unique academic, performance and production spaces, including the 800-seat Ford Theater, a 20-seat recital hall, a black box theater, arts studios and galleries, as well as a vocal and instrumental music rehearsal rooms.  The Communications Production Center (CPC) houses two state of the art television production studios, WRCJ-FM Radio, and digital media editing suites.  The top-floor media center and dining hall spaces afford students expansive views of the city’s downtown skyline.  The innovative design was conceived and refined through close collaboration with specialty consultants, user groups and Detroit Public Schools.  Throughout the design process, all aspects of the site, building and the related systems and materials were considered and developed with a commitment to sustainability and integrated design.  As a result, the Detroit School of Arts was the first LEED certified building in the City of Detroit.

To download the complete slideshow as presented at the Arts Schools Network Conference, click here.

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“Negro music has touched America because it is the melody of the soul joined with the rhythm of the machine. It is in two part time; tears in the heart; movement of the legs, torso arms and head. The music of the era of construction; innovating. It floods the body and heart; it floods the USA and its floods the world. The jazz is more advanced than the architecture. If architecture were at the point reached by jazz, it would be an incredible spectacle.”  – Le Corbusier

As a catalyst, the above quote ignited years of research, eventually leading to the development of Mike Ford’s University of Detroit Mercy Graduate Thesis, “Hip Hop Inspired Architecture.”   In short, the thesis established a framework for analyzing the developments of multiple cultural architectural styles and then assimilating these precedents within the proposed creation of a Hip Hop inspired architecture.  By first understanding the evolution of each cultural architecture separately, one perceives how Le Corbusier’s musings on music and architecture suggested the evolution from jazz towards a Hip Hop Culture.  While Le Corbusier should not be credited with laying the foundation of the Hip-Hop culture, his physical and theoretical works indirectly contributed both positively and negatively to the Hip Hop culture.  Within this body of research, Mike further explored the cultural and professional significance in implementing the Hip-Hop culture into the field of architecture.  Johann von Goethe said, “I call architecture frozen music.”  My thesis sought to freeze the most socially and culturally recognizable music in the world, Hip Hop. Continue reading

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PROJECT. The Criss Angel BeLIEve project has been published in the March edition of CONTRACT design magazine.  The project is a re-design of the entry sequence into the theatre at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in conjunction with the debut of the newest permanent Cirque du Soleil show, Criss Angel BeLIEve.  Its opening in September 2008 provided a sneak-peak into the major renovations that will occur at The Luxor through 2009.  The 2.1M project began in October 2007 and opened for the public in October 2008.  Project scope includes a Box Office & Retail space of 6000 square feet and Bar/Lounge of 14,500 square feet.

CONCEPT. By reflecting the enigmatic characters of Criss Angel and Cirque du Soleil, the architect’s call to action was to redesign the Box Office, Entrance, Retail Space and Theatre Bar/Lounge for the new dramatic experience.  This scope allowed a concept which considers the emotional mind-set of the audience as it approaches, spatially and temporally, the theatrical event.  The narrative of BeLIEve parallels Lewis Carroll’s classic literary work, “Through the Looking Glass,” as both pieces follow a protagonist’s journey into a whimsically absurd alternate reality.  In each piece, access to this other world is gained only through a very specific, yet different, threshold; one tangible (the looking glass), one experiential (an accident induced dream). Thresholds between levels of certainty, as literary premise inspired the architect to consider a similar perception when designing the tangible space of (sub)conscious journey.  The architectural realization of this journey provides a sequence of spatial thresholds (stages) through which BeLIEvers are slowly submerged.  Passing through each stage means passing into progressive levels of engagement with the artist’s warped perception, the ultimate destination. Continue reading

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