Detroit, Michigan

University of Michigan
Fall 2010 Graduate 3G2 Studio
Maria Arquero

Reminiscence of a time of denser and more vibrant urbanism, the proposal for the seed bank formalizes the civic aspirations of a nascent downtown Detroit. The design displays a careful articulation of vertical and horizontal volumes that reads both context and climatic constraints. The storage of highly sensitive seeds delineates defiant vertical silos facing the main street, and a series of terraced planting beds for the researchers and visitors face the quiet inner a side of the block. 

While combining multiple functions, the building engages the public with an interactive set of educational elements, yet allowing a clear gradation from the most public to most private areas. The circulation patterns help demarcate these thresholds: from the easy and continuous access to the café, the communal gathering space, and the display areas located in the ground level, to the highly protected access to the seed-storage vertical silos.
On the southern edge, a series of constructed wetlands provide living green space that remains accessible to the public through a path leading to the collection pond at the base.