Tag Archives: Michigan Central Depot

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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Anti-History. The discourse surrounding the Michigan Central Depot (MCD) is epic. Everyone has an opinion, and many opinions are charged with personal history, political dogma, or impulsive judgment.  This post does not attempt to chronicle the saga and thereby continue the allegations.  Rather, this post proposes to erase the associated drama and begin anew with the existing structure and current conditions.  Can we move beyond the MCD’s existing identity and all associated issues that continue to plague the MCD?  What could truly be done with this massive structure?   What is possible?

Momentum. Over the years, numerous proposals have floated through the Detroit ether: Homeland Security Offices, Business Center, Detroit Police Department Headquarters, Hotel/Casino.  None of these proposals have landed, none have gained momentum.  On a community level, the Greater Corktown Development Corporation and eighteen Earhart Middle School students developed MCD programming ideas through multiple design charrettes.   These creative programming solutions were summarized in powerpoint and then formally presented to the Detroit City Council.    A small band of renegades (Phillip Cooley, uRbanDetail, Tad Heidgerken, and others) have designed a Roosevelt Park Masterplan and slowly implemented the initial phases. Their landscape urbanism strategies have encouraged the MCD owner to clean up the structure’s forecourt and plant perennials along the front façade.  Mainstream recognition includes multiple music videos (Kid Rock, Eminem), wedding party photos, documentaries, and movies (Transformers, The Island, 8 Mile, 4 Brothers) using the MCD as a backdrop and/or stage.  This combination of community, renegade, and mainstream momentum results in a uniquely creative discourse, and perhaps a new found urbanism, Detroit-style. Continue reading

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