Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects has unveiled plans for their mixed-used development in downtown Detroit, the Monroe Blocks will feature several public plazas, green spaces and a range of commercial facilities.
The Monroe Blocks are the first ever project in the USA undertaken by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects (SHL) and the team has pulled out the big guns in terms of their designs. Set to become an iconic landmark and symbol of the rejuvenation and future development of downtown Detroit, the design of Monroe Blocks gives precedence to public, communal and green spaces.
The development will transform a 12,542 sqm site is located close to several historic and vibrant neighbourhoods, setting the area up for high activity and opening up section of the city for future development.
The development will feature Detroit’s first new highrise office tower in decades, more than 480 residential units and a network of new entertainment spaces, retail, food markets, sports facilities and exhibition venues that will attract a variety of people to site.
"Detroit is a unique place, I believe everyone living in the Western World has at some point been influenced or touched by Detroit. We all know or can relate to its legacy: the US automobile industry, the architecture of Albert Kahn and Woodward, and obviously the music,” said Kristian Ahlmark, Senior Partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen. “We are honoured that our first US project is happening in this great city.”
“From our earliest visits, we experienced the unique optimism, energy and entrepreneurial spirit that defines Detroit. This project is very much a part of that movement. The challenge has been to create a new way of defining central business districts as a diverse and multifunctional area for the benefit of the wider community."
Collaborating with engineers Buro Happold and landscape architects SLA, the team will draw from SHL’s established principles of urban design developed in projects across the world.
“Our Scandinavian heritage has a strong influence on the way we approach city building on this scale. We always try to think urbanism, city space and the built environment in that order,” Ahlmark continues. “In Detroit, we found many existing spaces that held a great amount of urban qualities, but laid undefined due to the vast amount of open space.”
“Our project is very much about stitching together and re-establishing some of the indisputable qualities of the original masterplan. Whilst at the same time we aim to frame a new contemporary approach to city life - build on some of the keywords that Detroit is made of: Density, Dynamic and Diversity."
Construction on the Monroe Blocks development will begin early next year with a completion date set for 2022.
Images Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects Courtesy of Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects