cody seipp expo 51 â€˘ detroit project advisor: chris perry grduation date: may 20, 2018 Degree: Bachelor of architecture Rensselaer school of architecture
expo 51 â€¢ detroit
“We are continuously engaged in the attempt to organize our surroundings, to structure and identify them. Various environments are more or less amenable to such treatment. when reshaping cities it should be possible to give them form which facilitates these organizing efforts rather than frustrates them.” - Kevin Lynch • Elements of the City
The 2051 Global Exposition celebrates Detroit as a new criterion for urban life in the 21st Century. The expo is projected to exceed 150 million visitors, surpassing its predecessors and setting a new benchmark for global expositions. The international recognition Detroit is currently experiencing marks the closing chapter to a major transitional period in its lifetime. It is important to understand the forces that have molded the city‘s image since the turn of the century. This book provides a lens into the key proponents of Detroit’s evolution into greatness.
there are three main characters in this story. 8
the world's Fair
prelude: a breif history of detroit
section one: urbenact
section two: amazon
section three: the world's fair
section four: presentation
prelude: A Brief history of detroit
urban decay in detroit At the turn of the twentieth century, many considered Detroit to be the poster child of urban decay. Once an epicenter of industrial progress and advancement, then driven to a massive depopulation and declining quality of life. Over 30,000 residential properties had been vacated as a result of Detroitâ€™s urban renewal and alienation of its residents. Larger manufacturing plants such as the Packard Motor Plant and cultural beacons like the Michigan Theatre now stand as weathered aftermaths of a once thriving cityscape. What drove Detroit to this level of desolation and blight?
world of tomorrow In 1938, visionary collaborative Norman Bel Geddes and Albert Kahn conceived of “Futurama,” an exhibit at the World’s Fair that imagined an urban fabric surrounding the automobile; a super highway system permeating cities, providing arteries of mass vehicular transit between major cities. This was a model of the near future, a model inspiring reconceptualization of urban life. In 1956, The Federal Highway Act fulfilled this vision of the “world of tomorrow,” beginning an infrastructural implementation that cut right through neighborhoods in Detroit. This fragmentation is one of the key contributors to Detroit’s decline over the next half century.
section one: urbenact
“Throughout the city’s decline we haven’t had a market to absorb what would be what parking lots are. There’s not enough economic return to put a building on them...As we go forward, I think rationalizing how we store automobiles is something we’re going to have to contend with particularly as we start to see growth both in downtown and midtown.” - Edward Lynch • Detroit Future City Planner (2018)
In the wake of the city’s desolation and blight in the later half of the twentieth century, members of the community began to embark on small creative endeavors to revitalize and rebuild neighborhoods. In 2014, Detroit Future City (DFC), an independent nonprofit think tank, was formed to create accessible strategies that citizens could deploy themselves to strengthen the city. DFC sought to expand their reach through large scale speculative explorations. Enter UrbEnact, a small group of designers and urban planners that partnered with DFC in 2017 to imagine radical futures of urban development through the community. The research proposed fusions of public space with systems of mobility and built entities. The work garnered positive reception from the community, sparking a movement to bring some of these ideas to life.
quote pulled from an exclusive interview with edward lynch. 15
Detroit future city Rather than managing or policing redevelopment, DFC offered Detroiters thorough sets of instructions for them to enact change themselves. UrbEnact hoped their work could inspire conversations in the community about urbanism. 16
Imbalanced mobility According the American Community Survey, an overwhelming amount of commuters chose automotive transit as their means of getting to work between the years 2011 and 2015. 18
balanced mobility UrbEnact sought to imagine an urbanity that offered a more balanced means of transportation, one that incentivizes and rewards public and pedestrian movement. 19
fragmentation UrbEnact identified one of main issues plaguing Detroit is fragmented areas of performance. Highways slice through the urban fabric, dividing the city into distinct areas that only serve one purpose. 20
fragmentation An optimal urban condition is one that breaks down boundaries and supports a rich variety of performances.
3-Dimensional development Simple geometric operations, while effective, are limited as they are typically resolved solely in plan. A three-dimensional approach allows the city to achieve 22
urban index Elements of a city can be at odds with each other when carrying out isolated performances. A careful synthesis of these elements allows for place-making that services several types of urban dwellers simultaneously. 26
Typical arrangement The familiar arrangement of a given city places different elements adjacent to one other, with little to no interaction. These elements often end up competing to serve their function. 27
captive city â€œThe City of the Captive Globeâ€? forces inhabitants to navigate around the imposing masses of the grid. Additionally, the ground plane crashes multiple modes of transit together without completely satisfying any one. 28
liberated city This exploration strengthens interdependence and interrelation within the built environment, creating new opportunities for movement and access absent in â€œThe City of the Captive Globe.â€? 32
box plaza This proposal reconfigures the Plaza De Mayor in Madrid as a volumetric public gathering space. The volume offers a stronger interface with built forms and a wider breadth of spatial conditions. 36
interchange This proposal rejects the prescribed function of a freeway interchange in Detroit, and re-imagines it as an urban community with spaces dedicated to agriculture, public space, housing, and retail. 40
existing condition The buildings of Detroit tend to stand isolated from the activity around them. UrbEnact understood that the parti of their design mission needed to address this condition.
proposed condition UrbEnactâ€™s proposal rejected the prescribed function of a freeway interchange in Detroit, and re-imagined it as an urban community with spaces dedicated to agriculture, public space, housing, and retail. 45
The overwhelmingly positive reception of UrbEnactâ€™s proposal made them eager to pursue this fantasy and turn it into a reality for Detroit. However, they knew a future this radical begged a set of resources beyond what the community could provide...
section two: amazon
“My hypothesis about supply chains is that they need to become more distributed because we’re not all going to stores anymore. We are getting stuff delivered in a much more distributed way. I think the design of those things is happening and needs to be happening.” - Jennifer Pazour • Industrial + Systems Engineer, Lecturer RPI
In 2017, global tech industry titan, Amazon, announced its aspiration to erect a second headquarters in the United States. The headquarters was estimated to bring over 50,000 jobs and billions of dollars in capital investment. UrbEnact saw this as the potential catalyst for their radical urbanism. They encouraged DFC and local government officials to back a proposal that would help Detroit stand out amongst hundreds of competing cities. In 2018, UrbEnact partners went to Amazon’s primary headquarters in Seattle with an offer to relinquish authoritative control over Detroit’s policies, activities, and redevelopment operations in exchange for their new headquarters and capital investment. Amazon executives took the offer and immediately began rebuilding Detroit as a hyper-designed corporate campus that followed the principles of DFC and UrbEnact’s studies. Over the next few decades, Amazon orchestrated a redevelopment scheme that rejects automotive transit and isolated programming in favor of public space, urban agriculture, and mixed-performance buildings. The city soon became home to Amazon’s subsidiary companies and technological experiments.
quote pulled from an exclusive interview with jennifer pazour. 49
prime air delivery drone
Charging + pickup unit
kiva storage unit
prime air bus
amazon technologies Amazon quickly devised a plan to integrate their extensive research and cutting-edge technology within an urban context. How could their products make the citydwelling experience more lively and convenient? 50
prime air delivery drone High speed transit of medium to heavy packages.
Prime air bus Public flight service vehicle providing transit between rooftops and ground plots.
Ultraviolet grow drone Package delivery drone equipped with LED lamps for crop growth in shaded areas.
secure drone Package delivery drone equipped with surveillance and defense systems that can be accessed by local law enforcement.
charging + pickup unit Streetlight integrated with charging station for drones and drop off chutes for package delivery. City-dwellers can access particular unit for package pickup based on their location. 56
checkpoint turnstiles Threshold areas implemented to gather data for foot-traffic around the city. Allows the city to condition advertisements and information to individuals based on their patterns of movement. 57
kiva storage unit Storage unit for automated ground transit of goods and products.
Kiva taxi Single-person automated ground transit pod.
Corporate occupation Amazon began to re-imagine existing buildings in Detroit to house different divisions of Amazon as well as subsidiary companies.
amazon HQ Workplace for executives, division leaders, and main staff. Serves as a public park, performance space, a stop in the gondola transit line and, a stop the people mover transit line. Designed by UrbEnact. 61
amazon HQ Workplace for executives, division leaders, and main staff. The headquarters serves as a public park, performance space, a stop in the gondola transit line, the people mover transit line, and the Prime Air Bus line. 62
amazon prime center Amazon division dedicated to optimizing convenience and service provisions throughout the city. Located in the re-imagined Ally Detroit Center.
amazon Air center Amazon division dedicated to advancing air systems for delivery and transit. Located in the re-imagined Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. The center serves as a stop for the Prime Air Bus. 66
amazon Robotics building Amazon division dedicated to advancing robotics technologies and sharing their latest designs with the viewing public. Located in the re-imagined Penobscot Building. 68
audible hq Subsidiary company executive workplace and retail center located in the re-imagined One Woodward Building. The headquarters serves as a stop for the gondola transit line and a stop for the Prime Air Bus. 70
imbd hq Subsidiary company executive workplace located in the re-imagined One Woodward Building. The headquarters serves as a stop for the gondola transit line and a connecting point for the pedestrian mall. 72
twitch hq Subsidiary company executive workplace, streaming facility, and gamer lounge located in the re-imagined 719 Griswald Building. The headquarters has a public roof and outdoor viewing balcony. 74
zappos hq Subsidiary company executive workplace and manufacturing center located in the re-imagined 1001 Woodward Building.
whole foods hq Subsidiary company executive workplace located in the re-imagined Renaissance Center previously home to General Motors. The center now serves as main stop for the new people-mover transit line. 78
whole foods market Shopping center located in the re-imagined Guardian Building. The center serves as a major connecting point for the pedestrian mall and outdoor pedestrian park.
Amazon retail stores Goods and services provided by Amazon are made physically available to the consumer along the outdoor pedestrian park.
detroit mercantile andy's nora nest city bird pot + box city style
Locally owned shops Amazon gives local businesses real estate along the elevated public realm to maintain social, cultural, and economic opportunities for the local community.
In the midst of the cityâ€™s booming growth, Amazon recognized that their long term success in Detroit was dependent on an enthusiasm for the world outside of itself. They imagined an event that would encourage tourism and activity throughout their urban campus...
section three: the world's fair
We use architecture to tell a powerful story of when we appear to stop caring about the way we are perceived as a nation. We think all America puts out there (the products, media, television shows and movies) represents our wide diversity and values. But in fact, we’ve ended up projecting an image which is more narrow and materialistic. It’s a very fact-based criticism of what we’ve been putting out at the World’s Fair; and why the world thinks what we care about is our relationships to them through trade only. - Mina M. Chow • AIA, Adjunct Associate Professor USC School of Architecture, Director of “FACE OF A NATION:
Happened to the World’s Fair?” (2018)
For several decades, the United States has had little involvement in international cultural events as the World’s Fair. Amazon sought to rekindle the ambition and spirit the nation used to have for the fair. The multitude of moving parts Amazon’s redevelopment scheme were directed towards an end goal of an international exposition held on the 200th anniversary of the first ever World’s Fair. By hosting a World’s Fair in Detroit, they could rally the country behind city, give the city a global presence, and attract millions of visitors from around the world. Amazon welcomed celebrated personalities in the architecture discipline to represent different countries with iconic built works that contributed to the public realm. The city became a collection of some of the most daring pavilions in the history of the World’s Fair, most of which paid homage to previous architectural feats of the fair.
quote pulled from an exclusive interview with mina chow. 89
the united kingdom pavilion
the denmark pavilion
the china pavilion
The Switzerland PAvilion
the Germany pavilion
The Uruguay Pavilion
the Spain pavilion
The canada Pavilion
The united states Pavilion
International pavilions Amazon aimed to recapture the national pride and excitement the United States once had for the Worldâ€™s Fair through spectacular works of architecture, ones that reject what pavilions like the US Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo stood for. 90
echo tower Date Completed: 2021 Architect: NBBJ Program: Public Observation, Exhibition
the biospheres Date Completed: 2023 Architect: NBBJ Program: Agriculture, Exhibition
the united kingdom pavilion Date Completed: 2030 Architect: Grimshaw Architects Program: Public Observation, Exhibition, Housing, Research
the Denmark PAvilion Date Completed: 2031 Architect: Bjarke Ingles Group Program: Public Park, Exhibition, Housing, Retail
the china pavilion Date Completed: 2034 Architect: SHoP Architects Program: Public Park, Exhibition, Housing, Commercial, Retail
The Switzerland PAvilion Date Completed: 2037 Architect: Herzog + de Meuron Program: Public Park, Exhibition, Housing, Retail, Storage
the GermanY pavilion Date Completed: 2042 Architect: Eisenman Architects Program: Public Park, Exhibition, Commercial, Retail
The Uruguay PAvilion Date Completed: 2046 Architect: Rafael Vinoly Architects Program: Exhibition, Housing, Commercial, Retail
the United States pavilion Date Completed: 2048 Architect: Steven Holl Architects Program: Public Park, Exhibition, Commercial, Housing, Retail
The spain PAvilion Date Completed: 2051 Architect: Santiago Calatrava Program: Exhibition, Retail
the Canada Pavilion Date Completed: 2051 Architect: Gehry Partners Program: Public Observation, Exhibition, Immigration Center, Retail
The success of Expo 51 speaks to the significance of Amazonâ€™s redevelopment project, a project that merges hyper-productivity with spectacle and attraction to create a profound experience for city dwellers...
section Four: Presentation
“Is this actually happening?” - Joeb Moore • Architect, Awards Review Juror
The project presentation included a set of canvas prints, a series of printed books, a physical model, and a slide presentation. The presentation was stylized as a mock TEDTalk, spoken behind a lectern and in past tense as though the events had already taken place.
Printed Book 60 page book with laminated cover. Produced with Troy Book Makers. 15 copies were created to distribute to jurors.
Canvas PRints One isometric drawing printed over three 30” by 40” canvas sheets with a 1.5” wrap. Prints made with Easy Canvas Printing in Texas. Prints mounted with assistance from Tom Roland.
Physical Model 1/16”=1’ scale. Painted acrylic, painted plywood, and PVC tube. Model made possible by Tom Roland. Plywood base painted by Lauren Ruskauff.
final review Jurors: Brad Horn, Carla Leitao, Cathryn Dwyre, Tom Verebes, Yael Erel Original Photo taken by Vivian Lin.
awards review Jurors: Ciro Najle, Christianna Bennett, Evan Douglis, Joeb Moore, Rhett Russo Original Photo taken by Vivian Lin.
Allison Rojas • Morale Booster
Jackson Wright • Lab Companion
Ally Turner • Material Transporter
Jennifer • Print Specialist @ Troy Book Makers
Amaory Portorreal • Morale Booster
Jennifer Pazour • Logistics + Distribution Expert
Andres de la Paz • Design Advisor, VRay Consultant
Jesse Goguen • Mina Chow Reference
Archue • Content Promoter
Joe Skulski • Display Screen Technician
Ashley Dotson • Work Shift Coverer
Joeb Moore • Critic
Axo Madness • Content Promoter
John Hammer • Design Advisor, Morale Booster
Barbara Seipp • Nutrition Advisor, Health Advisor, Mother
Josh Gyamfi • Lab Companion
Botherzine • Content Promoter
Kevin Conlin • Book Inspiration
Brad Horn • DFC Reference
Lauren Ruskauff • Base Painter
Carla Leitao • Critic
Lowes • Acrylic Provider
Cathryn Dwyre • Critic
Little Black Box • Content Promoter
Cara Porto • Lab Companion
Lydia Kallipoliti • Design Consultant
Carly Brackett • T-Pin Provider
Mae-ling Lokko • Critic
Charles Seipp • Graphic Consultant, Printing Consultant, Father
Majid Javid • Computer Lab Companion
Chris Muscari • Pre-presentation Motivational Speaker
Meradith • Print Specialist @ Troy Book Makers
Chris Perry • Project Advisor
Mina Chow • World’s Fair Expert
Christianna Bennett • Research Consultant
Nick Pretel •
Claire Liu • Late Night Laser Cutting Assistant
Robert Wolsey • Computer Lab Dictator, Arch Nemesis
Dave • Greene Building Janitor
Sarah Reynolds • Best Friend
Easy Canvas Printing • Print Resource
Sarah Vogel • Gallery Curator
Edward Lynch • Detroit Future City Expert
SuckerPunchDaily • Content Promoter
Emily Sun •
Tom Roland • Model Consultant
Food Travel Companion, Lab Companion
Emma Pilon • Life Consultant, Morale Booster
Tom Verebes • Critic, Urbanism Lecturer
Elaine Zhang • Pin Up Consultant
Varun Chillara • Design Advisor, Food Travel Companion
Eleanor Gibson •
Vivian Lin • Emergency Model Builder, Proud Mom Photographer
Reporter @ Dezeen
Erik Weaver • Morale Booster
Xueping Li • Project Statement Reference
Felix Reyes • Lab Companion
Yael Erel • Critic
I Made That • Content Promoter
Zach Pearson • Exhibition Coordinator 133
All images in this project are originally produced or creatively transformed.
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