Detroit oscillates between periods of prosperity and disparity. Tuning to the cyclical rhythm of the city’s pulse, the Public Factory expedites this transition, catalyzing a new era of re-growth.
It reaches this conclusion through its most significant precedent, the previous building occupying its site [the J.L.Hudson department store in downtown Detroit]. During the city’s first wave of prosperity Hudson’s was built, growing with the city and expanding twelve times, over several decades, to become the world’s tallest department store… before disparity hit and the site was demolished.
A blank slate now appears in the city center, at the advent of the city’s next wave of prosperity, the site’s second cycle begins! Like its predecessor, the Public Factory constructs through phases, growing with its city:
Phase One- a geothermal plant, housed in a concrete plinth, anchors itself to the site, harvesting energy from the earth to fuel further expansion phases.
Phase Two- the plinth grows a steel armature, grabbing onto the existing monorail-line paralleling the site, bringing in people from all over the city. Pedestrian paths slice through its mass, creating an axis of shortcuts.
Phase Three- with energy and people, the factory can now be assembled. Using Detroit’s long history of industry and innovation as advantage, the building program employs, educates, and houses citizens, allowing them to participate in the construction process. The building grows with the city: A modern metabolic megastructure!
Phase Four- once it reaches its desired height, the tower grows a super-structural steel grid. It shifts its production capabilities and begins to manufacture modular-capsules, containing small live/work units. These capsules travel along the factory’s internal assembly line, before a crane embedded in the structural core installs them into the grid. As more units plug-in, the façade becomes a chart of re-growth, mirroring the people returning downtown.
Through these phases, the Public Factory will not solve all of Detroit’s problems; rather it helps expedite these problems to potential solutions, maintaining infrastructure and educating skilled citizens to be capable of facilitating future transitions.
Detroit grew and died from the factory, with hope that it may do so again-and-again…