North and Central America->United States->Michigan->Detroit->Lafayette Park
This was a student project by Nun Cungbik for Kay Bea Jones' course ARCH 4410 in Autumn 2018.
"Detroit has moved on from its past. The vestiges of the past still linger. These vestiges have been maintained, transformed, or abandoned as evident through the artifacts of Lafayette Park and the Dequindre Cut. These artifacts with their own merits and faults can not be ignored. Lafayette Park has a rich architectural history that comes with a reminder of urban renewal. The Dequindre Cut is a remnant of Detroit's industrial history.
The Aretha Franklin Performing Arts High School or simply, the Aretha, picks up these vestiges and weaves together a future for Detroit. The campus opens to the historical artifacts of the Dequindre Cut and Lafayette Park and weaves them into fabric of the school. The school's programmatic elements that the general public could also enjoy become a simultaneous buffer and connector between the students and the public. The metaphor of woven fabric continues in students' spaces that form nodes in a connected network. This network exposes academic learning spaces with visual and performing arts classrooms. This exposure and interaction with diverse arts and people with the goal of making good citizens and artists.
The building is a tripartite scheme of two civic zones that bracket the school along the Dequindre Cut-Lafayette Park axis. The 500 seat theater, black box, planetarium, and gallery are zoned in the eastern wing of the building. The gym, library, and fitness center are located on the western wing of the building. The roof plane acts as a sign for the building by gesturing toward the community and the history to invite them to these civic amenities. The roof angles up and opens to the Dequindre Cut and Lafayette Park as a connection to its history to learn from it and weave together its future.
On the Lafayette Boulevard facade, the roof angles down become a wall against the busy boulevard. The wall operates as a sign as well. It contains pieces that rotate and pivot open and closed to signal activities of the school. This flexibility of architecture continues into the school.
The use of a non-hierarchical tartan grid provides a neutral and flexible framework for the pedagogical spaces. Walls and glass can move, rotate, and covered up. The lighting, the heat, the air conditioning can be controlled. Furniture can be re-arranged and finishes can be designed. All of this is to be controlled by the users, not the architect. My role as an architect is to provide the system for which this is possible. I provide the floors, walls, glass, and day light with the understanding of proportions, scale and light.
Through the layering and alternation of performance based pedagogical spaces and traditional pedagogical spaces inside the pods of the tartan grid, the students’ education experience becomes a cross-disciplinary, collaborative and individual experience. The ultimate goal is to have students and future citizens of the Aretha be the leaders in an increasingly more connected, collaborative and everchanging future. "