Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Old space for new ideas: An embarassment of a certain type of richness
In 'How Buildings Learn..' Stewart Brand writes lovingly of adaptive re-use versus big box solutions. New ideas, he reasons, benefit from the flexible and adaptable spaces of malleable old buildings, while old ideas demand the support of their own structures. Witness a failed KMart, Roy Rogers or other retail solutions housed in constructions limited by their aspirations as they sit vacant.
Detroit has a wealth of these--pictured above is the Russell Industrial Center just at the Clay Ave exit of I-75. One million square feet on 10 acres, a once 30-year headquarters of Leona Helmsley's underknown direct mail empire (less glamorous than her hotel business) the Russell is home, creative incubator, studio space for an eclectic creative community including poster designers, architects, glass blowers, incense makers, host to open houses and parties that always make me think Detroit must be the most happening city on the planet.
Pictured from bottom up to the top: Tower visible from the road, 'the bridge' the fabulous elevator and the courtyard. I'll put up some images of the Packard Plant soon--Detroit's industrial infra structure is waiting and ready, a great host for new ideas.