Building Type: Monuments
Location: Downtown Detroit, MI
Class: AR 552; University of Michigan
Professor: Perry Kulper
Date: Fall 2013
With the recent bankruptcy of Detroit, a US government shutdown, inflation at an all-time high, and an economy still recovering from the depression of 2007, what can we begin to imagine methodologically to reshape Detroit politically, economically, and architecturally? What if Detroit could be transformed into a thriving city once again through tourism? What if the political redress of Detroit happened to coincide with a transformation of Detroit through monumentality? Could we begin to imagine Detroit as a Burroughsian “Interzone” where millions of tourists flock in search of the newest spectacle the world can offer? Through the creation of a series of new monuments, could Detroit reshape the service economy to accommodate the influx of tourists? For a city that currently lacks enough people to be able to sustain itself, how would this begin to reform the city and the architecture of Detroit and how would the positive change in population effect local, regional, and architectural economies as they scramble to deal with the problem of the spectacle?
Expanded Thinking, Hypotheticals and What Ifs:
What if Detroit were invaded by fortyfoot sepia-toned hydroponic growbots that consumed vacant land and produced hypertonic nutrient clusters capable of regenerating arable land, while projecting virtual feedback loops to its sisterbots in Beijing? What if these robots could crush the rubble of Detroit and produce a liquid biofuel capable of sustaining protohumanist endeavors?
What if the pieces of decomposing factories peeled away allowing forty-foot hotpink rhododendron pods to sprout from the faces while ghosts of the altered facades transmit stereoscopic memories to Buenos Aires which are reflected in silhouette and evaporate three point nine seconds later? The hot pink pods, after serving as temporary shelter for Detroiters, would then be transmogrified into fearful taxidermied volumes that would try to hide from the gaze of non-Detroiter media.
What if the remaining cultural enclaves of Detroit, using technocratic mythical swarming mechanical spiders, spun an ephemeral web through relaxive silkworm looms creating cocoons which were supplied through vascular infrastructures allowing the cultural reproduction to transform both Detroit and Beijing simultaneously? These silk cocoons could be hardened with carbonfiber and allowed to socket into vacancies while copying their very actions verbatim in Beijing.
What if fractured vacant building shells danced catatonic pirouettes spewing oozing technocratic facades which were counterbalanced with flocking reflexive virtual drawing machines attaching themselves momentarily to the native landscape? The blown out facades of Detroit could be reformed into something resembling a bouquet of machineanimals that would pepper their impermanence on the facades of buildings, but also as chromed overheads in it’s sistercity: Beijing.
What if Detroit’s vacant land were replaced with ephemeral technological landscapes populated by granulated twisting armatures that geoform the robust infrastructure into posturban agrarian nuclei and dissolve upon completion through planned obsolescence? What if this freshly created land could then be cultivated and sold in the Beijing marketplace and inhabited by roaming hordes of post-American cybernetic robots (which are capable of providing housing to needy dwellers)?
What if Detroit, fueled by the recent success of a future Xgames event, transformed into an Olympic-Park-City: 2032 where the embodiment of the motor would be utilized as a metaphor for building typologies? What if the facades of the games buildings were created through assemblyline production and stitched together by millions of undocumented workers. What if Detroit could become a haven for every conceivable possibility and all laws were abandoned for an adhoc approach taking America’s “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free....”