| Sofía Oliva Gorria, Ignacio Navarro Soriano y Rafael Kalinoski
| 2014 | 4º | Illinois Insitute of Technology, Chicago
| Professor: Patricia Natke
Due to studio’s choice for a site located on the Detroit River waterfront needing to be reintegrated to the city, the project design for the Great Lakes Education Center aims to make this portion of urban land part of urban activities again. One of the most important needs to be fulfilled is the essential idea of clearly showing how the Education Center contributes to the ecological improvement of the region. That being taken into consideration, these needs were expressed through key words that gave directions throughout the development process. These words are CONTINUATION, CONNECTION, and REACTIVATION.
Continuity and connectivity were represented by connecting two points of the Detroit River Walk adjacent to the site. Reactivation meant bringing diverse activities to this site and making it as useful as it used to be in the 1940s when the General Motors Factory was located there. It is common knowledge that this site is contaminated due to its past use. Therefore, this was seen as a first action for the Education Center to contribute to the Great Lakes Region. Instead of making the surrounding areas of the building another conventional park providing empty lawn spaces, this project brings in a strong way one of the points proposed by the City of Detroit for the reactivation of vacant sites: urban agriculture. In addition, the proposal for agriculture in this site brings together a three year schedule with the objective of decontaminating the site.
The relation between the city/region and the project can be seen in different ways when analyzed both the design and the site strategy. The physical shape of the Education Center modules relates to the shape of traditional houses in Detroit while the site strategy relates specifically to the site and its problems. Together, the solution presented through the previously said key words communicates with both the city and the Great Lakes region. That is what the Education Center stands for.