Schmidt Hammer Lassen reveal dynamic Detroit development

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
– Kristian Ahlmark, senior SHL partner

Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects (SHL) have revealed the design of their first US project – a major mixed-use development in downtown Detroit.

SHL, working in collaboration with developer Bedrock Detroit, local architects Neumann Smith, engineering firm Buro Happold and landscape architects SLA, have conceived a “destination and an icon for the future development of the city.”

Their project, called Monroe Blocks, will see the addition of Detroit's first high- rise office and residential tower in a decades. The architects will also re-establish historic alleyways around the building and introduce 4,400sq m (47,300sq ft) of new 24-hour public plazas and green spaces.

"What we're doing from a public space standpoint within the development is going to be special," said Dan Mullen, president of Bedrock's real estate arm. "It's not just a big, tall building. It's a big, tall building that interacts with street level and public spaces throughout. There's going to be different pods and nods of great spaces to hang out and for people to get together."

Exhibition spaces, performance venues, shops, grocery stores, food markets, and facilities for entertainment, sport and leisure are all planned.

SHL senior partner Kristian Ahlmark said: “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.

“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.

“We always try to think urbanism, city space and the built environment in that order. Here, 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, dynamism and diversity."

The Monroe Blocks development is set to break ground in early 2018 and will complete in early 2022.

Detroit  Bedrock Detroit  Schmidt Hammer Lassen  architecture  regeneration  public realm 
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Danish architects Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects (SHL) have revealed the design of their first US project – a major mixed-use development in downtown Detroit. SHL, working in collaboration with developer Bedrock Detroit, local architects Neumann Smith, engineering firm Buro Happold and landscape architects SLA, have conceived a “destination and an icon for the future development of the city.” Their project, called Monroe Blocks, will see the addition of Detroit's first
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Monroe Blocks will see the addition of Detroit's first high- rise office and residential tower in a decades / Schmidt Hammer Lassen
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