Redesigning Detroit: A New Vision for an Iconic Site

On March 28th, Rock Ventures LLC announced details for Opportunity Detroit’s international design competition soliciting ideas for a signature project proposed for the historic Hudson’s Department Store site. Opportunity Detroit is hosting a free, open call for architects, designers, planners, artists and community members to present ideas for innovative, creative and inspired designs for the future use of one of the city’s most beloved locations.

“We want participants to use their imaginations and submit visionary proposals with inspiring ideas that could play an important role in the redevelopment of not only the Hudson’s site, but all of downtown Detroit,” said Reed Kroloff, Director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum and competition advisor.

According to Kroloff, the competition is seeking proposals that: demonstrate original architecture and design concepts; present an innovative vision for the site; incorporate space for significant retail activity at ground level; provide a creative response to the site’s urban context – particularly as a signature project in downtown Detroit.

“Much as Hudson’s served as an icon for downtown Detroit in its day, we envision that this competition will generate the ideas and excitement that will bring new energy to Woodward Avenue,” said Matt Cullen, President and CEO, Rock Ventures.  

The deadline for registration to participate in the competition is Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at Design submissions are due no later than 5:00pm EST on Friday, May 31, 2013. Winners will be announced on June 12, 2013. Entrants are asked to create compelling visions for a new urban development on the vacant 92,421-square-foot Hudson’s site, surrounded by Woodward, Gratiot, Grand River and Library in downtown Detroit. The competition is about the ideas. Winning an award does not imply that an idea will be developed or built.

The Redesigning Detroit competition will award $15,000 for first prize, $5,000 for second prize and $2,500 for third prize and will culminate with a ceremony in the city and a special exhibition. All questions and communication regarding the competition should be sent via e-mail to [email protected].

The ideas competition will judged by the following experts: Deborah Berke, FAIA, LEED AP, founding partner of Deborah Berke Partners in New York City, Professor of Architectural Design at Yale University, and the first Berkeley-Rupp Visiting Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley; Maurice Cox, Associate Dean for Community Engagement at the Tulane University School of Architecture and Director of the Tulane City Center, a multidisciplinary community-based design practice in New Orleans; Ned Cramer, editor-in-chief of Architect, Architectural Lighting, and the Architect Product Spec Guide; Toni L. Griffin, Professor of Architecture and inaugural Director of the J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City at the Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York; and Rip Rapson, President and CEO of the Kresge Foundation, a private foundation based in metropolitan Detroit.

In addition to his role as Director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Kroloff also led the competition to design the High Line in New York City, an elevated former rail line that is now a popular public park for millions of New Yorkers and visitors from around the world. He has 15 years of experience running competitions and is also a principal in the private architectural practice, Jones/Kroloff.

Opportunity Detroit began as a breakthrough Kid Rock-narrated and Quicken Loans-produced television spot that aired during the 2012 World Series. Since then it has grown into a movement underscoring the unparalleled opportunities available in Detroit today. What does opportunity look like? It looks like Detroit.

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