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nARCHITECTS (with team lead James Corner Field Operations) was one of four finalists for the Detroit West Riverfront competition. Within the larger landscape we designed a Porch, conceived as a flexible armature, to span the edge of the park.

At 2,140 feet long, the open system 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, calling on current innovations in mass timber that speak to the city’s green future.

Rendering: James Corner Field Operations
Rendering: James Corner Field Operations

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

Client: Detroit West Riverfront
Location: Detroit, MI
Status: Competition, finalist
Dates: 2018
Sq Footage: 2,140 ft long
Program: Public waterfront park including greenhouse, cafe, sports equipment rental, and flexible outdoor space
Environmental: Glulam timber construction

Design Team: Eric Bunge, Mimi Hoang | Amanda Morgan | Albert Figueras, Matthew Sikora

Collaborators: Team Lead/Landscape Architecture: James Corner Field Operations | Civil Engineer: Giffels Webster | Sustainability: Sherwood Design Engineers | Environmental: AKT Peerless | Economic Development: HR+A Advisors | Park Advocacy: Ann Zoller