6. US Pavilion – The Architectural Imagination
Commissioner: Monica Ponce de Leon. Curators: Cynthia Davidson and Monica Ponce de Leon. Exhibitors: Marcelo López-Dinardi and V. Mitch McEwen, A(n) Office, Detroit, Michigan Kelly Bair and Kristy Balliet, BairBalliet, Chicago, Illinois, and Columbus, Ohio, Greg Lynn, Greg Lynn FORM, Los Angeles, California Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam, Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects, Atlanta, Georgia Marshall Brown, MARSHALL BROWN PROJECTS, Chicago, Illinois Hilary Sample and Michael Meredith, MOS Architects, New York, New York Florencia Pita and Jackilin Hah Bloom, Pita & Bloom, Los Angeles, California, Albert Pope and Jesús Vassallo, Present Future, Houston, Texas Preston Scott Cohen, Preston Scott Cohen Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts Stan Allen, SAA/Stan Allen Architect, New York, New York Thom Moran, Ellie Abrons, Adam Fure, and Meredith Miller, T+E+A+M, Ann Arbor, Michigan Andrew Zago and Laura Bouwman, Zago Architecture, Los Angeles, California.
The Architectural Imagination presents twelve new 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. Today, like many post-industrial 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 architectural practices to address these futures. With the help of an eleven-member Detroit advisory board, they also selected four sites for the projects: a lot in Mexican town, 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. 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.