This project is a set of grids: A thick “Nazca Line” style grid, a wonky grid that’s both rigid and droopy, and a regular grid that’s only tangentially related to the overall composition, which together creates a new nucleus for the Eastern Market neighborhood of Detroit that awkwardly incorporates itself into local infrastructure and shifts and decentralizes the Eastern Market area.

The project is both based on and subverts late modern civic building typology; urban complexes that create their own ground, separate from its surroundings, that contains multiple iconic buildings in tension with each other and defining the enclosed public space. The landscape of the project creates new ground that simultaneously isolates it from and connects it to the surrounding area.

The project is anchored around 2 buildings, a Library and a “Double” Office Tower, which contains both traditional office and “officetel” workspaces. A wonky grid that echoes the facade of the Library lazily droops onto the building and over the site, with space underneath it being used as a large covered market that connects with the row of existing market halls. The gird of the office tower continues onto the ground, defining and expanding the new market areas. A flat regular grid, extruded into a warehouse, lies on the northeast corner of the project.

Because of the lack of a major built context on the given site, the project expands as a geoglyphic graphic, seeking out to create tension. As the graphic “Nazca Line” grid expands over the Eastern Market, it both creates new ground for the new buildings and weaves into the surrounding urban fabric, trapping nearby buildings into its own system with ruthless indifference. The lines connect with existing blocks, closing off roads and redirecting nearby traffic to an existing central parking garage, and also connect to the flat building across the Dequindre Cut, which allows the building to act as indirect programatic and formal support for the project. 

The geoglyph acts as and breaks the idea of the late modernist platform. It creates new ground on which to place the new buildings and defines new land that claims and redefines the eastern market area. 

Fall 2015 - Spring 2016 Research Studio, Prof. Andrew Zago and Julia Di Castri