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Friday, August 28, 2009

Detroit II - Architecture

Local Architecture Cincinnati goes to Detroit

The post last week, "Local Architecture Goes to Detroit," provided some examples of abandoned neighborhoods in Detroit, an effect of the population decline and migration the city has experienced. This second post is an attempt to display some of grand architecture that has decayed and may cease to exist during many of our lifetimes.

”AbandonedAbandoned Michigan Central Station and the Detroit skyline from the top floor of the tower.

Any research or observation into abandonment in Detroit is in a class of its own. It’s not very hard to find spectacular images (here and here for starters) or excellent narrative (this, this, or this) of the subject matter all over the internet, and it has now become easy to find people incapable of photography or journalism criticizing the former (the hipsters at Vice). It’s also easy to find those who fight for preservation (here and here), and those who fight for demolition (Detroit City Council, among others). What is tough to find, however, is an architectural observation and response.

Local Architecture doesn’t pretend to be journalism or artistic photography, and it doesn’t pretend to be a historical society. It’s architectural documentation of the unique cases of abandonment that infest Cincinnati and other Midwestern cities - in this case: Detroit. The intent is to arrive at a thesis that can help approach urban decay with a reasonably feasible goal and methodology.

Detroit: Abandoned Skyscrapers Downtown
David Broderick Tower (rear) is completely abandoned, as is the building in the foreground. Overall, 48 vacant buildings exist in downtown Detroit, where the office vacancy is nearly 30% (Source) ... raising the question of what to do with historical, beautiful architecture that has no foreseeable usage. Click the image to launch the photo gallery of abandoned skyscrapers.

Detroit: Abandoned Hotels Downtown
The Hotel Eddystone and the Park Avenue Hotel are both empty historically significant buildings. Click the image to launch the photo gallery of these two buildings. Comment with any input or ideas on how to utilize them.

Detroit: Abandoned Church
This is one of dozens of abandoned churches in Detroit. Not only are they architecturally significant, they are spiritually significant. Click the image to launch the churches photo gallery.

Detroit: Michigan Central Station
Michigan Central Station is the most common buildings used as an example of blight in Detroit. You've probably seen it in most major newspapers and networks at once time or another, or in movies like Naqoykatsi, and more recently Transformers. It’s overuse is indicative of the significance this building has, as one of the most beautiful train stations ever built. Click the image to launch the Michigan Central Station photo gallery.

Next week I will update the blog with the third and final section on Detroit, before I return to Cincinnati and continue my explorations there.


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J.SMITH said...

Where is the church located?

David Schneider said...

First of all, I am writing this from New Orleans which Hurricane Katrina laid to waste, but wow what a mess Detroit has become. I have an architect friend who works between New Orleans and Detroit and we have spoken of the decay in both cities; we have nothing on Detroit.

Unknown said...

I have lived in the suburbs of Detroit all of my 53 years and so sad of the way Detroit has handled the preservation of its historic buildings. Their response to an old unoccupied building is to tear it down. We have lost the Hudson building and I fear the Michigan Central Depot. Not to mention our beautiful churches that are abandoned and many smaller "less known structures". Other cities have preserved their treasures, why can't Detroit?


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