The Detroit Creative Corridor Center will spearhead a massive effort exploring the cutting edge of Detroit art, architecture and design at this year's Detroit Design Festival, which kicks off Wednesday night. While we're sharing our creative visions for the city, The Huffington Post wants to consider how design has already shaped Detroit.
We're seeking submissions for an interactive slideshow, asking readers like you for your best -- and/or worst -- examples of design in the Motor City. Your picks could range from a building or example of interior design, to a graffiti mural or sculpture, an urban development project or automobile. Any physical representation that somehow defines or represents the design aesthetic of Detroit will fit.
We'd like to see both your BEST AND WORST picks for Detroit design (that hideous-looking building, loathed sculpture, or useless public space). If you can only think of one, that's okay, too!
You can upload your selections below or simply send an image of your example in JPG form (if you have it) and 3-4 sentences on how you made your choice for your Best and/or Worst examples of design to your HuffPost Detroit editors. Let us know your name, profession and where you live.
BEST: Campus Martius and Cadillac Square
After a flight of ideas that took me from the Fox Creek canals to the Rouge Park nursery, it felt a little anticlimactic to settle on the easy, obvious choice. But this is a space that works, and it does so, year round, from early in the morning to late at night. William H. Whyte, a scholar of urban social life who helped redesign Manhattan's Bryant Park and New York City's zoning code in the 1970s and 1980s, identifies seven features that bring urban spaces alive: sittable space (he especially liked moveable chairs), streets and plazas, light, food, water, trees and "triangulation" -- a term Whyte creatively misuses to mean stuff people want to stop and point at. Campus Martius has all of these, in abundance, and it works. My only complaint is that Bagley Memorial Fountain, which Governor John J. Bagley willed to the city in 1881 to provide refrigerated (!) water to its residents, no longer flows. Make it flow! --<em>Tim Boscarino, City Planner</em>
Best: McGregor Memorial Conference Center Yamasaki Reflecting Pools
Wayne State University’s renovation of the MacGregor Center Yamasaki Reflecting Pools. This project has received wide national attention for its fidelity to the original design and innovative use of preservation materials. (Disclaimer: I sit on the review panel.) Other similar projects include the Midtown Detroit Sculpture Walk and Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. <em>--Rebecca Hart, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Detroit Institute of Arts</em>
WORST: Detroit's Freeways
The worst design in Detroit is the freeway system, not only in the very real political sense of how it chopped through historic neighborhoods, destroying the city while it drained it, but also in the simple logical design sense of why the hell can't you get on the Southfield from the M-10 (Lodge) going north? And what's up with the extremely extreme intersection of Southfield Fwy and 96? It looks like a Soviet amusement park! And what's up with all the parallel highway craziness on 75 by Corktown? And how exactly how do all those new exits work there at the Ambassador Bridge? It seems like the whole thing was designed by a cranky 12 year old boy drunk on cough syrup.<em>-- Toby Barlow, Creative Director, Team Detroit</em>
BEST: Hart Plaza (Honorable Mention)
This is certain to be a controversial one, as Hart Plaza as long been maligned as an example of bad, boring, urban-renewal-era design and plans to "fix" the place have come and gone almost the plaza opened in 1975. But I say: give the space a chance! An Eliel Saarinen plan reworked by Smith, Hinchman and Grylls, the richly-textured urban park balances sweeping outdoor landscapes with intimate, engaging spaces, and makes dramatic use of the bluff that made Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac bother to settle here in the first place. Isamu Noguchi's Dodge Fountain is pretty sweet, too. The real reason Hart Plaza is so depressingly vacant has little to do with any inherent design flaw, and everything to do with the fact that crossing Jefferson's nine lanes of expressway-speed traffic is a game of high-stakes Frogger that no one has any incentive to play. Develop residential and retail on the former Ford Auditorium site, add a pedestrian crosswalk at the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel (why isn't there one?), improve Cobo's interface with the riverfront, and the Plaza will finally get the love it deserves. --<em>Tim Boscarino, City Planner</em> <i> Flickr photo <ahref="http://www.flickr.com/photos/cletch/3434748947/" target="_blank">by cletch</a>.</i>
WORST: Ugly Woodbridge Bikes
In urban planning class I learned about this thing called "community buy-in," a lesson a certain Woodbridge landlord seems to have missed. Does anybody like these? The only thing that could make the Commonwealth and Putnam scultpures any better (by which I mean, worse) would be a slogan like "Woodbridge: We're Up and Coming!" or "Woodbridge: A Neighborhood on the Move!" Comments heard on the street include, "Go back to Grand Rapids!", "Did somebody check the wrong box in a playground equipment supply catalog?" and, "Those just scream 'white people.'" My dire prediction is that these fabrications will help fill the neighborhood with exactly the people who, five years from now, will be shouting at me to get by bike off the street and onto the sidewalk. As my roommate said, "Maybe it's time to move to Avery."<em>--Tim Boscarino, City Planner</em>
BEST: Lafayette Park
Picked by Toby Barlow, who, by not submitting a caption, must figure this an obvious choice. <i>Flickr photo <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/femmefacetious/3578103349/" target="_blank">by Femme Facetious</a>.</i>
WORST: Detroit Metro Airport
Not so ugly in appearance, but dysfunctional. Huge distances from point A to B to C. Luggage arrival delays, pickup and drop-off chaos, corruption, and limited transportation to downtown and off-site parking. <em>-- Jim Pallas, Artist</em>
BEST: Screenprints Of Nerl Says Design
Nerl Says Design is the moniker of Detroit-based designer and screen-printer John Knoerl. Motivated by his passion for music and art, John taught himself to screen-print in 2010 and started designing and hand-printing posters in his basement for various artists. John's work can be found in Gig Posters Volume 2, and in concert and art venues across the country. This is a print he recently designed for the Glen Hansard and Iron & Wine concert. <em>--Elizabeth Smith, Public Relations Associate, Quicken Loans</em>
BEST: The Renaissance Center
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ron_Gage"></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ron_Gage">Ron Gage</a>:<br />The Detroit Renaissance Center as seen from the Windsor Ontario Canada shoreline.
The Penobscot at Night
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ron_Gage"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100000163560496/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ron_Gage">Ron Gage</a>:<br />The Penobscot Building in downtown Detroit Michigan
MacArthur Bridge at Sunrise
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/MemoriesbyMike"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/twitter_profile_img/3938448.png" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/MemoriesbyMike">MemoriesbyMike</a>:<br />Very early morning with the sun just coming up on historic Belle Isle. Peaceful and ready for the days events. Taken by Mike Boening www.memoriesbymike.zenfolio.com
BEST: Detroit Waldorf School
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/RoyalOakMI"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://images.huffingtonpost.com/yahoo_profile_img/3970021.png" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/RoyalOakMI">RoyalOakMI</a>:<br />Detroit Waldorf School makes it home in the only remaining school designed by Albert Kahn, which celebrates its centennial in 2013. Built as as the Eastern Liggett School for the daughters of Detroit's early civic leaders and industrialists, Detroit Waldorf School is now among the most diverse schools in Southeast Michigan.
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