Urban Engine | An Alternative-Design Concept Developed in Detroit

Deines, Amy Green

Architecture students at The University of Detroit Mercy, under the direction of Professor Amy Green Deines.


Detroit‟s Woodward Corridor represents a dynamic urban essay that speaks to the value that public activity contributes to the character of the city. In performing an analysis, we ask, what change in the urban landscape is necessary to maintain peak physical conditions in the city? Is it possible to rebrand a city, like Detroit, with its unique cultural signature?


During the Fall semester the architecture studio produced public art and architectural intervention that acted as urban catalysts, to engage the public in refreshing ways that reinvigorates street life along the Woodward axis.

The URBAN ENGINE design proposals are critical solutions that seek to bridge communities, universities, and academies in such a way that collaboration is essential. It offers a perspective that is new and fresh regarding Urban and Architectural Design, professional and academically, and the role the museum plays as a catalyst of critical discourse and human interaction. The URBAN ENGINE exhibition supports the methodology of placing post-industrial cities back into the public eye, with a positive image! This particular way of approaching a project differs from other academic + professional practices in that its survival relies on collaboration from the micro to macro, from the individual citizen to the city.

The recent exhibition provided the collaborative opportunity that was between The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and University of Detroit Mercy, School of Architecture. This type of model is an excellent example of cross-institutional partnership. A wide range of individuals received the work produced within URBAN ENGINE studio enthusiastically with over 200 attendees at the opening evening event.