Detroit Riveryards: The Porch

nARCHITECTS (with James Corner Field Operations, Team Lead) was one of four finalists for the Detroit West Riverfront competition. Our design scope consisted of the Porch, a flexible armature spanning across the edge of the park. At 2,140 ft. long, the open armature of glulam timber and steel supports a variety of amenities and elements, variously providing shade, shelter from rain, or voids open to the sky. Beneath this canopy, a number of smaller gable roofed structures support different programs – greenhouse, café, restrooms, storage. The Porch celebrates Detroit’s industrial past, albeit with current innovations in mass timber that speak to the city’s green future.

If one were to hover above the Porch for the Detroit Riverfront, one would perceive that it stretches the entire length of the proposed park, acting as both a threshold and catalyst for human activity in an under-utilized area of the city. From an eye-level vantage points however, the Porch might appear not only endless, but possibly a work in progress.

The shed celebrates Detroit’s industrial past, albeit with current innovations in mass timber that speak to the city’s green future.

Detroit River Yards: The Porch
Status: Competition, Finalist
Location: Detroit, MI
Program: Public waterfront park including greenhouse, cafe, sports equipment rental, flexible outdoor space
Design: 2018

Design Team: Credits: Eric Bunge, Mimi Hoang (Principals); Amanda Morgan (Associate, Project Manager), Albert Figueras, Matthew Sikora

Team Lead/Landscape Architecture: James Corner Field Operations.

Collaborators: Civil Engineer: Giffels Webster; Sustainability: Sherwood Design Engineers; Environmental: AKT Peerless; Economic Development: HR+A Advisors; Park Advocacy: Ann Zoller

Model and diagram courtesy nARCHITECTS; Renderings courtesy JCFO.