Lafayette Park, Detroit, Michigan

Lafayette Park in Detroit consists of three high-rises, 24 single-story courthouses and 162 two-story town houses, completed in the early 1960s. It was an urban renewal project built on land that was once a working-class black neighborhood. It was designed by one of the 20th century’s most famous modern architects, Mies van der Rohe.

All these elements have spelled disaster in other cities, and yet Lafayette Park has been a success, with high occupancy rates, a racially diverse population and a strong commitment to maintaining Mies’s architecture.

In their new book, “Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies,” which is due out at the end of the month (Metropolis Books, $29.95), the editors Danielle Aubert, Lana Cavar and Natasha Chandani, graphic designers all, offer a portrait of Lafayette Park very different from the classic Mies monograph.

Contents include interviews with residents of Lafayette Park’s towers and town houses; archival materials from the complex’s history; an account of nine days spent trying to climate-control a corner apartment; and essays on Mies in Detroit, the Lafayette Park landscape, bird-watching and a record of bird-strike deaths (birds and plate glass don’t mix).

At-home portraits of residents by Corine Vermeulen show Mies’s architecture as a strong frame for personal expression. Some homes look like shrines to 1958, while others reflect the lived-in décor of decades. Jacqueline Neal, an interior designer and 12-year resident of the Pavilion, the smallest of the complex’s three towers, spoke last month about living and accessorizing with Mies.

What kind of interior design do you do?

For the past 17 years, I have been doing commercial design, corporate offices, working for C.E.O.’s. But the commercial industry has not come back as quickly as residential furniture. Residential is not difficult for a designer.

How did you come to live at Lafayette Park?

I went to college at Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Mich. When I came back to Detroit, I kind of stumbled upon it. What drew me to the building was the ambience of the space when I would come by at night. When you drive down Rivard, you pass the town houses, and it gives you that serene feeling. Then you pull in and see the doorman at the Pavilion. When I finally came in and they gave me the brochure, I said, “I studied this guy in college.”

Design-wise, what do you like about the Pavilion?

I like the floors and the green marble walls in the lobby that are accented with chrome trim and chrome elevator doors. The housekeeping staff does an excellent job in maintaining the space. The floors are always done. Everything is original. When you invest in quality, you do get what you pay for. That’s a sad thing a lot of people don’t understand or appreciate.

Click HERE to read the full story on The New York Times (dot) com! 

Unleash your inner artist and explore ancient ceramic techniques at Pewabic Pottery’s annual Raku Party on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Guests will work alongside Pewabic artists to glaze and fire a handcrafted pot that they can proudly display at home.

Raku is an ancient firing process in which the ceramicist fires the pot with extreme heat until the glaze melts. The pot is then treated to a series of steps in which water, air and other elements combine to reveal unpredictable designs and patterns on the piece—making each one truly unique.

“The experience doesn’t end once the pot’s been fired,” said Barbara Sido, executive director of Pewabic Pottery. “You can take the pot home as a memento of your day at Pewabic and keep it as a constant reminder of your ability to create something from nothing.”

Guests can register for a two-hour session between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Cost is $60 per person, including materials. Space is limited and advance registration is required. To register or receive more information call (313) 626-2010.

Pewabic Pottery is a non-profit arts and cultural organization and National Historic Landmark which is dedicated to engaging people of all ages in learning experiences with contemporary ceramic art and artists while preserving its historic legacy.

Pewabic is a historic working pottery which is open to the public year round and offers classes, workshops and tours to children and adults. Pewabic creates giftware, pottery and architectural tile, showcases more than 80 ceramic artists in its galleries, and operates a museum store that features pottery and gift tile made on-site. Visitors are welcome, free of charge, Monday - Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. To learn more about Pewabic Pottery call (313) 626-2000 or visit Pewabic Pottery is located at 10125 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit across the street from Waterworks Park.
The story of Detroit is one of decline and hopelessness. From headlines about rampant unemployment to traveling photo exhibits of “ruin porn,” the story America tells itself about Detroit is that of a dying city overcome with despair.

That is simply not true.

 On the last weekend before fall set in, I joined 120 invited guests at a curated weekend called Another Detroit is Happening. Hosted by a small committee of young Detroit entrepreneurs, the weekend’s purpose was to invite other young business leaders, technologists, investors, philanthropists, and artists into the city to tell them the other stories of Detroit. What started as a mysterious gathering of friends quickly caught attention (including the governor’s!).

I’d written about Michigan’s burgeoning start-up scene last December (“The New Start-Up Scene: Silicon Strip to Silicon Mitten”), so I was thrilled to dive in and explore a region I call Silicon Mitten. As I’ve mentioned before, the “Silicon” moniker isn’t literally about tech—it’s about being innovative, young, hungry, and not afraid of failure. The risk-taking spirit of Silicon Valley is evident all over the city of Detroit, from the social entrepreneurs to the urban farmers to the street artists, and they’ve added their own distinctly “mitten” flair. If all you know about Detroit is the story of a struggling automotive industry, here’s a peek into what’s really happening at the center of the Mitten State:

The Alley Project

We also visited a residential neighborhood in southwest Detroit where the community is using art to battle problems with gang graffiti.

The Alley Project (TAP) connects artists with homeowners who allow the garage doors of their neighborhood’s interior alleys to feature spray paint murals. The murals enrich the aesthetics of the community, provide a creative outlet for the artists, and have earned the respect of local gangs who largely steer clear of the installations. Every mural installed also becomes a workshop where local youth can build and create: Fixtures are reclaimed from closed schools and sliding glass doors feature DIY “stained glass” made from the lids of used spray paint cans. “The spray can is an iconic symbol,” said one of TAP’s curators, holding up one of the small pyramids of empty cans glued together, which serves to create bricks for furniture and structural art. “We look at them as building blocks, using them as the foundation of street art culture here in our city.

Click HERE to read the full story by Anneke Jong on! 

Best Pizza Places in the U.S.

Top chefs and legendary bakers are among the new breed of pizzaiolo who are just as fanatical about the temperature of their ovens as they are about the provenance of their ingredients. Here, F&W names the best places for pizza around the country from these new guard spots—including a Bay Area pizzeria that uses locally-milled flour—to century old East Coast institutions.

The Bismark 
Detroit: Supino Pizzeria

Located in the beautifully restored public Eastern Market, this cozy checkerboard-floored pizza shop serves terrific pies at long wooden tables with metal stools. The signature Supino pie is topped with roasted garlic, black olives, creamy ricotta, mozzarella and finished with a drizzle of chile oil.

Detroit: Buddy's

Pizza Signature Item: This fabled pizzeria specializes in Detroit-style square pies like The Super (with pepperoni, mushrooms, onion, green peppers and ham), and even uses some of the same seasoned pans from when they opened more than 50 years ago.

Click HERE to read the full list in Food & Wine! 
The year is 2025. Detroit, the poster child of the Great Recession, is emerging as a model of urban life. The transformation could be called a miracle but for the fact that the change was wrought by the very things that first made Detroit great: innovation, industriousness, and a will to win against all odds.

The metamorphosis grew from desperation. In 2008, two of the Big Three carmakers were swirling toward the sinkhole of bankruptcy. The city's population, which peaked at 1.85 million during the post—World War II auto boom, was approaching 700,000. Tracts of wilderness, abandoned factories, and empty houses sparked a perverse fascination with Detroit's ruins. "This whole area really bottomed out," William Clay "Bill" Ford Jr., Ford's chairman and a great-grandson of the automotive company's founder, says.

But then something powerful and unexpected happened: Visionaries and ordinary citizens, tired of living in a crumbling city, decided to quit waiting for someone to fix it. "I think there was a realization by everybody in this region, not just in Detroit, that the way we were doing things was a broken model," Ford says. "At Ford we had to completely reinvent ourselves."

The reinvention was aided by the group that Ford's great-grandfather had resisted so viciously, the United Auto Workers (UAW). "When things were the bleakest," Ford says, "UAW president Ron Gettelfinger and the union took concessions that allowed Ford to survive and ultimately thrive. Ron said to me, 'Look, we've got to get out of this together.' If you can take entrenched institutions like the auto companies and the UAW and completely redefine the relationship, then it should be possible for the city of Detroit to do it too."

That was Bill Ford's epiphany; other Detroiters had their own. People with foresight and guts began investing in the city again. Detroit natives who had fled their broken hometown trickled back, joined by pioneering young people who saw past the city's blight. Instead, they saw available buildings, cheap rents, and a welcome mat for innovators. They saw an iron work ethic and fierce energy. And in a landscape ravaged by depopulation and decay, some bright people saw a blank canvas on which to paint a new urban model.


Reemerging waterways and feral forests claim land left open by sharp population decline. Detroit goes green with planning that takes advantage of the city's unique ecology.

Read More Detroit 2025: After the Recession, a City Reimagined - Popular Mechanics!
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Peter Baker

America’s Motor City is no longer running on fumes.

Fans pour into Comerica Park to watch the Detroit Tigers take on the New York Yankees. Across Woodward Avenue, at the Fox Theatre, hordes of young girls wait in line to see the popular British boy band One Direction. Down the road, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are playing to a full house at Joe Louis Arena. And the loud hum of revving engines in the distance is the sound of Formula 1 racing cars practicing for the Grand Prix on Belle Isle, the first time in three years the race will be held in Detroit. This city, once the poster child for the Great Recession, is hopping.

This city, once the poster child for the Great Recession, is hopping. This might come as a surprise to folks who thought Motown was ripe for vultures — especially considering the steady diet of “Detroit on the decline” stories these past five years. It’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always this way; that Detroit wasn’t always the punch line of a cruel national joke. In 1950, a thriving automobile industry helped the city’s population swell to 1.85 million, making Detroit the fifth-largest city in America. Slowly, though, the city changed. Race riots in 1967 and an exodus of citizens to the suburbs took a heavy toll on Detroit, as did the sagging fortunes of the U.S. auto industry. By 2008, the unemployment rate was above 20 percent, and crime and poverty soared. It got so bad that Detroit made national news when it was discovered that inmates were committing new crimes immediately after release so that they would be re­arrested — because they preferred a jail cell over a life of freedom in the city.

The city got more embarrassing national attention that year when then-­Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was forced to resign and went to prison after being charged with 10 felony counts, and the NFL’s Detroit Lions lost every game they played en route to a 0–16 season.

Then, in 2009, two pillars of Detroit industry, Chrysler and GM, went bankrupt. The 2010 census found that the city had lost a staggering 25 ­percent of its population over the past dec­ade, making it the 18th-most populous city in the United States, with 713,000 residents. The reduced tax base simply couldn’t support the city’s infrastructure, and debt rose to a mind-boggling $12 billion.

From afar, the former home of boxing great Joe Louis looked like it was about to be knocked out.

Yet in the midst of all this turmoil, certain areas were showing signs of life. The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy started to convert an area of urban blight into the first phase of a river walk that will one day extend 5.5 miles between the east and west riverfronts and 1.35 miles inland on a rail-to-trail called the Dequindre Cut Greenway. Downtown, the long-dormant Book Cadillac, the tallest hotel in the world when it was unveiled in 1924, underwent a $180 million renovation and reopened as a Westin in October 2008. In August 2010, Dan Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans and Rock Ventures, made the decision to move his headquarters from a western suburb to the city’s financial district. In spring 2011, longtime community developer Sue Mosey created a program called Live Midtown, with incentives that would help spur growth in her neighborhood.

Today, GM and Chrysler are both out of bankruptcy, having paid off their government loans ahead of schedule. GM posted a record profit and is once again the world’s top-selling carmaker, while Chrysler’s­ net profit exceeded $150 million in 2011. Quicken­ Loans and Rock Ventures have moved more than 6,000 workers into the city, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan recently relocated 3,000 workers from Southfield to downtown’s GM Renaissance Center. A new port will host several cruise ships touring the Great Lakes this fall. More than 500 people have already taken advantage of Mosey’s Live Midtown program to move into that neighborhood. And with the 2012 NFL season a quarter of the way done, the Lions look back on a 2011 that saw their first winning campaign (10-6) since 2000 and their first playoff berth since 1999. No wonder the city buzzes with optimism.

Click HERE to read the full article on American Way! 

The M@dison
Location: Detroit Square feet: 50,000

Designers: Doodle Home & Neumann Smith For nearly 25 years, the Madison Theater, a dingy, worn-out theater on a quiet stretch of Detroit's inner city, stood vacant. But in 2011, Dan Gilbert, the billionaire founder of Quicken Loans purchased this 1917 building, and created an all-out Mecca for start-ups. It opened last year, and now houses more than a dozen start-ups. The "industrial chic" building also includes a 135-seat auditorium, and a giant rooftop patio.

Click HERE to read the full article on Inc.!