On Saturday September 29, 2018, a perfect fall afternoon—brisk and bright—embraced the 25-plus participants who registered for the Detroit Design Tour. The event, jointly sponsored by MITArchA and the MIT Club of Southeasst Michigan was organized to celebrate the 150th anniversary of MIT Architecture during Detroit’s annual “Month of Design”. Three Course IV alumni tour guides, Robert Ziegelman, AIA, M.Arch ’59; Constance Bodurow, Assoc. AIA, AICP, CUD, SMArchS ’91; and Noah Resnick, RA, SMArchS, ’04—all of whom are practicing in Detroit, led the 5.25 mile walking tour of significant downtown architecture and urbanism, emphasizing the roles MIT alumni played in the city’s built environment. A mix of Course 2, 4, 6, and 13 participants began at the Detroit Riverfront, the site of Detroit’s First Nations/European founding and recent focus of extensive public realm investments.
Alumni participants were guided through seven stops, including: the Renaissance Center; the Financial District (featuring Art Deco treasures including the Guardian Building); the former Hudson’s site on Woodward Avenue (currently under redevelopment by Quicken Loans/Rock Financial and soon to feature the tallest building in Michigan); and concluding at Lafayette Park (the largest collection of Mies van der Rohe designed buildings in North America).
The tour concluded with a refreshment stop at local restaurant Gather in Eastern Market, which provided participants with a chance to relax and gain insight into smaller scale, yet no less important, revitalization projects in Detroit. MIT Club of Southeast Michigan President (and official event photographer!) Isaac In-Soo Suh expressed the consensus, stating: “this tour was full of surprises with excitement discovering Detroit history and architectural beauty.” Organizers expressed their hopes for repeating similar joint events in the future!