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DIA plaza redesign finalists offer different concepts in innovative public space design

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Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

Three finalists from Paris, Boston, and Minneapolis have been chosen to advance in the Detroit Institute of Arts plaza redesign competition. All have team partners in Detroit, and the decision for these three to advance was unanimous by the jury.

The process looks to enhance the DIA’s outdoor space, connecting it to surrounding cultural institutions and creating more of a public plaza.

In the next step of the process, the teams will study and develop proposals, which will then be on display at the DIA from January 23 to April 2, 2019. Teams will also present to the public January 23. The final design will be selected in March 2019.

Felicia Molnar, Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives at the DIA, gave Curbed some insight into why each of the teams were selected.

Agence Ter from Paris, France, had a strong international and local team. They identified the skyline, the ground, and the underground as opportunities for development in their design, and were creative and innovative in how they look at using outdoor space. The jury also saw that their local partners knew the arts ecosystem in Detroit very well. Team partners include Akoaki, Detroit; Harley Etienne, University of Michigan; rootoftwo; University of Michigan and Detroit; and Transsolar | KlimaEngineering, Germany.

Mikyoung Kim Design from Boston presented a clean, formal style to their design. The jury also saw Mikyoung Kim as an empathetic listener and inclusive designer. They also understand sustainability and stormwater management, and “showed what movement could be in landscape.” Team partners include James Carpenter Design Associates, New York; CDAD, Detroit; Wkshps, Quinn Evans, Detroit; Giffels Webster, Detroit; Tillett Lighting, New York; Cuseum, Boston; Transsolar | KlimaEngineering, Germany; and Schlaich Bergermann & Partners, New York.

TEN x TEN from Minneapolis “[r]epresent a generational shift in how they talk about design challenges and would use a social justice lens in looking at the Arts and Cultural District, to redesign so that all people feel welcome.” They also had a big approach, which blurred the line between city and institution. Molnar adds that, “They want to promote economic, environmental, and community resilience with their design,” as well as, “invite and inspire the community to act as “curators” in the public spaces.” Team partners include MASS Design Group, New York; D MET, Detroit; Atelier Ten, London; Local Projects, Boston; HR&A Advisors, New York; and Dr. Craig Wilkins, University of Michigan.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how our arts and cultural district operates, and we hope that the public will take advantage of the many planned opportunities to provide feedback on what they would like to see and experience,” said Susan Mosey, Midtown Detroit, Inc. executive director.

The DIA Plaza and Midtown Cultural Connections design competition is a collaboration between the DIA and Midtown Detroit Inc. The planning process is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, William Davidson Foundation, and the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation with support from the Boston Consulting Group Detroit Office led by Xavier Mosquet.

Detroit Institute of Arts

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