Monroe Blocks
Architect: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects
Client: Bedrock Management Service LLC
Status: Competition (2017) Project (2017) On going (2018)
Location: Detroit, United States
Coordinates: 42.3333151, -83.0515588
Climate: Continental, Temperate
Material: Undefined
Environment: Urban
Visualizer: Studio
Scale: 94.400 ㎡ Large
Types: Masterplan, Public space

Located at the center of the spokes that connect greater Detroit, the Monroe Blocks development will make an impact far beyond its surrounding context, it will become a destination, an icon for the future development of Detroit. The new development will combine downtown Detroit’s first highrise office tower in a generation with over 480 residential units.

The new office tower will offer a combination of large floor plates, tall ceiling heights and access to sunlight currently unprecedented in downtown Detroit. Monroe Blocks will make a diverse reflection on urban life. The mix of uses allow space for varied activities complimenting each other to make safe vibrant 24hour public spaces. Functions include office, residential, highstreet retail, grocery stores and food markets, entertainment, sport and leisure facilities and the potential for exhibition spaces and performance venues.

«Detroit is a unique place, I believe everyone living in the Western World has at some point been influenced or touched by Detroit. We all know or can relate to its legacy: the  US automobile industry, the architecture of Albert Kahn and Woodward, and obviously the music. We are honoured that our first US project is happening in this great city. From our earliest visits, we experienced the unique optimism, energy and entrepreneurial spirit that defines Detroit. This project is very much a part of that movement. The challenge has been to create a new way of defining central business districts as a diverse and multifunctional area for the benefit of the wider community.»

The Monroe Blocks project is an important piece in the puzzle for downtown Detroit’s development, connecting some of the city’s key central public spaces: Cadillac Square, Campus Martius, Library Square and Woodward.

These new connections will not only bind the city center but also enrich, strengthen and unify the already popular public spaces. «What we’re doing from a public space standpoint within the development is going to be special,» says

Dan Mullen, President of Bedrock’s real estate arm. «It’s not just a big, tall building. It’s a big, tall building that interacts with street level and public spaces throughout. There’s going to be different pods and nods of great spaces to hang out and for people to get together.» Kristian Ahlmark continues: «From day one, we have been working alongside a team of crossdisciplinary experts. Both local architects, engineers, historical experts and many others. We try to gather as much relevant information and feedback as possible early in the process. By doing this open process, we aim to establish a sense of «best practice» amongst all stakeholders.

Our Scandinavian heritage has a strong influence on the way we approach city building on this scale. We always try to think urbanism, city space and the built environment in that order. In Detroit, we found many existing spaces that held a great amount of urban qualities, but laid undefined due to the vast amount of open space. Our project is very much about stitching together and reestablishing some of the indisputable qualities of the original masterplan. Whilst at the same time we aim to frame a new contemporary approach to city life build on some of the keywords that Detroit is made of: Density, Dynamic and Diversity.»

Collaborator: Neumann Smith | Consultant: Buro Happold Engineering | Landscape: SLA | Post date: 10/05/2018 | Views: 3.358