As a city currently undergoing an urban and cultural rebirth, Detroit is at the forefront of innovative thinking on how cities rebuild and regenerate. Actively participating in the city’s urban revitalization efforts, LOHA’s design for four mixed-use buildings will form a key component of a catalytic new development in Detroit’s Brush Park neighborhood, the city’s largest residential project in decades. LOHA’s bold, distinctive buildings will become the cornerstones of this significant revitalization effort, incorporating housing, retail, dining, and various community amenities on an 8.4 acre site in historic Brush Park.
LOHA’s four corner anchor buildings are variations on a common formal strategy. With sensitivity towards the historic buildings and low-slung character of the neighborhood, each of the buildings’ massing steps down midblock to the height of the adjacent buildings. By redistributing units along this strategy, LOHA’s solution introduces density to the neighborhood while valuing Brush Park’s architectural past.
Inspired by Detroit’s urban palette, each of the four buildings is clad in one of the basic materials commonly found throughout the city – brick, wood, metal, etc. Coupling a signature material with a unique form lends each building a singular design that contributes to the aesthetic diversity of the comprehensive Brush Park master plan.
A mix of new and historic buildings in close proximity to downtown Detroit, Brush Park’s overall redevelopment plan comprises townhomes, duplexes, carriage homes and apartments designed by a highly-regarded team of local and national architects. This variety of scales, unit types, and design aesthetics will bring together a dynamic, sustainable community. To integrate this walkable neighborhood into the larger city, Brush Park will augment the residential component with retail, landscaped pedestrian mews, and connections to public transportation.
Located at the northwest corner of the site, the charcoal-gray brick building steps down from a height of 76 feet to articulate five distinct blocks, breaking down the mass of a typical apartment building and providing access to roof gardens and outdoor space from all the units. The building also steps back along the main John R St. elevation, creating a richer experience for the pedestrian at the ground floor.
LOHA’s designs for Brush Park also address larger ecological and urban issues. Supporting the city’s community gardens tradition, the stepped form creates rooftop gardens that visually connect with existing neighborhood parks and pull green space from the internal pedestrian mews to the four main corners of the overall complex. The green roofs join a set of sustainable strategies used throughout Brush Park, including on-site rainwater collection and bioswales along the pedestrian mews.
For the building at the northeast intersection, LOHA used vibrant red metal to add color to the otherwise more neutral material backdrop of Brush Park.
With Brush Park, LOHA has designed a replicable model for revitalizing a district. Brush Park is a case study for several relevant issues facing many contemporary cities: forging a sustainable path for neighborhood growth, re-stitching the urban fabric after decades of decline, integrating landscape and the public realm, and fostering social diversity and equity.