Organized for the US Pavillion at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, Italy, The Architectural Imagination presents drawings, models, and videos of 12 speculative architecture projects designed for specific sites in Detroit but with far-reaching applications for cities around the world.
As the home of the automobile industry, the free-span concrete factory, Motown, and techno, Detroit was once a center of American imagination, not only for the products it made but also for its modern architecture and modern lifestyle, which captivated audiences worldwide. Today, like many postindustrial cities, it is coping with the effects of a declining population. Nonetheless, having emerged from bankruptcy, there is new excitement in Detroit to imagine the city’s possible futures, both in the downtown core and in its many neighborhoods. Believing in the potential of architecture to catalyze change, the curators selected visionary American architecture practices to address these futures.
With the help of an 11-member Detroit advisory board, they also selected four sites for the projects: a lot in Mexicantown, a riverfront post office, parcels along the Dequindre Cut, and the Packard Plant. The architects worked with Detroit residents to understand neighborhood aspirations before devising the programs and forms exhibited here.
The projects not only demonstrate the value and diversity of the architectural imagination but also have the potential to spark the collective imagination, and thus launch new conversations about the importance of architecture in Detroit and cities everywhere.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website