The renowned Danish architecture firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen plans to take part in the ambitious project of establishing a brand-new city center in Detroit, the largest city in the state of Michigan and the largest US city to ever file for bankruptcy.
Nevertheless, Detroit is now looking forward to restoring its former grandeur. Together with a number of local companies, Schmidt Hammer Lassen has been chosen to rebuild Detroit's city center with a brand-new district with 482 homes and the first new office building in generations.
"After hard times, Detroit is marking itself as the comeback city of the US, and this project is part of this trend. The challenge is to redefine Detroit's city center, which today consists mostly of office buildings and parking lots, into a diverse and multifunctional area for the benefit of a broader society," Kristian Ahlmark, senior partner at Schmidt Hammer Lassen, told Danish Radio about the project, which also happens to be the company's debut on American soil.
Entitled Monroe Blocks, the project is intended to be a multifaceted reflection of city life, with lots of vibrant public space. Monroe Blocks is planned to commence in 2018 and to be completed by 2022, featuring offices, private housing, retail and food stores, entertainment venues, sports and leisure facilities, as well as exhibition areas.
"Our project is trying to recreate some of the qualities of the original city plan. At the same time, the project offers a new and contemporary approach to urban life, where we systematically mix homes, institutions, shops, offices and public places. In many ways, it's about what had previously identified Detroit: density, dynamics and diversity," Kristian Ahlmark said.
As for diversity, Detroit has already undergone a significant change in the racial composition, since approximately 1,400,000 of the 1,600,000 white people have left Detroit after WW2, with their percentage dropping below 10 percent.
The people of Detroit know the real cost of Hillary Clinton's free trade policies. pic.twitter.com/OoatUvhEc9— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) March 3, 2016
Schmidt Hammer Lassen is an international architectural firm founded by a group of Danish architects in 1986. With five offices in Aarhus, Copenhagen, London, Shanghai and Singapore, its specialty is high-profile buildings, including art galleries, educational complexes and libraries.