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Title: Embracing Detroit's urban ruins
Authors: D'Orazio, Trevor
Keywords: Adaptive reuse;architecture;collective memory;decay;de-industrialization;Detroit;Detroit riots;fragment;history;picturesque;racism;rebirth;romanticism;urban agribulture;urban revitalization;urban ruins;urban prairie;white flight
Issue Date: 30-Aug-2020
Abstract: The current urban landscape of Detroit reflects the fallout from the city’s tumultuous history of racial turmoil and social and spatial segregation. Since the “white flight” to the suburbs of residents and the institutions they controlled, Detroit has become an “urban prairie” characterized by the abandonment of factories and homes and the accelerated decay and demolition of significant portions of the urban fabric. As a counter-position to the city’s culturally and environmentally unsustainable “tear down” culture, this thesis project proposes a ground-up approach to the adaptive reuse of existing buildings by tapping into the poetic potential of the fragment, abandonment, and material ruination as productive catalysts for urban revitalization, instead of as evidence used to justify more demolition of the ‘unsightly.’ Drawing inspiration from the 18th-century aesthetic valoration of the ruin, this thesis reimagines the Picturesque for the 21st century in order to cultivate a new way of seeing and responding to decrepit parts of the natural and built environment. Aligning itself with the surrounding grassroots initiatives focused on urban agriculture, inclusive arts practices and public green space to inform the proposed intervention’s hybrid program, this thesis aspires to shifting perspectives of what is possible and desirable by offering a positive, community-oriented response to a former industrial site that aims to contribute to Detroit’s rebirth.
Appears in Collections:Architecture - Master's Theses
Master's Theses

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