2018-2019 Steel Competition

Honorable Mention: INTERCHANGE

Scott L’Esperance

Project Description

From the 1960s through the 1980s interstates were plowed through America’s cities, tearing neighborhoods apart and fostering suburban flight. These interstates are beginning to reach the end of their lifespan, and cities like San Francisco, Milwaukee, and Toronto have successfully removed freeways to reconnect communities, reduce pollution, and spur economic growth through new development.

Hyperloop transportation may be viable in the near future, and its arrival offers a chance to reconsider America’s cities, as convenient 700 mph travel can reshape the entire notion of transportation. Two things are crucial to hyperloop’s success. First, is the use of established interstate right-of-ways to reduce property conflict. Second is locating stations in city centers to diminish the need for an additional mode of transport from hyperloop stations to a passenger’s final destination.

Hyperloop stations may require four city blocks worth of contiguous space. In crowded city centers, space is hard to come by. Urban highways facing redevelopment are therefore the perfect hyperloop station site. These sites offer plenty of contiguous land to build the station and supporting programs, as well as access to the interstate right-of-ways that lead out of the city.

The hyperloop systems can be located below grade, and this Detroit station locates the bus and auto terminal are below grade as well. The result is programmatic and formal freedom above grade. A market, museum, community center, hotel, and retail are included to provide amenities for locals and travelers alike. Rather than pursuing a uniform language for all of these programs, steel is used differently in each structure to create varied pedestrian scale architecture.

This project, as a whole, explores the use of diverse steel conditions to create a new neighborhood center that replaces an urban freeway in Detroit, while providing top-notch transit to local and national destinations.