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Old Posted May 1, 2018, 1:34 AM
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Jasoncw Jasoncw is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Posts: 339
My feeling is that Dan Gilbert's developments are setting a higher bar, design wise. There are also higher rents, encouraging the types of higher end developments that tend to care more about design (even if it's only for the purposes of luxury branding), and there's more competition. So I think in the future the quality of design will improve.

So far what's been getting built in Detroit has been a lot of contemporary generic developer urban infill mixed use projects, suburban faux historic/neotraditional developments, and some generic contemporary university building projects.

A handful of recent buildings have broken into territory that Detroit hasn't seen in decades, which is "we hired designers to design the buildings". This is a big upgrade from "we're legally obligated to hire architects, and we suppose there needs to be someone to tell the contractors what to build". This isn't to say that the architects are really doing anything particularly earth shattering, but it's an improvement.

Detroit is well known for it's fall from greatness in many areas, but not often talked about is the decline in its design culture. During the midcentury Detroit was home to many of the greatest designers in the world. Detroit also had high quality projects from outsider designers. And even just the normal local firms produced work of a higher quality than average. There's a long way to go.
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