ERA Architects

Toronto to Detroit

Selection of photos by Lara Herald, Scott Weir, Alana Young, Sydney Martin, Graeme Stewart, Jordan Molnar, Julie Tyndorf, Alec Ring, and Brent Wagler.

Recently a large group of us here at ERA spent a weekend exploring the amazing city of Detroit, Michigan. Founded in 1701, Detroit became a huge industrial and economic engine from the mid-19th century through the automobile boom of the early 20th century. During the 1920s and ‘50s especially, a great deal of stunning modernist architecture was constructed and many of these amazing buildings still stand today.

Since the 1960s, the city has seen challenges in population density, economic stability, and infrastructural soundness. In the last decade, however, Detroit’s downtown and midtown neighbourhoods have begun to see revitalization at several scales, from community gardens to large-scale economic reinvestment.

Organizations such as the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3) and the Detroit Economic Growth Commission are rethinking the city step by step. The result is a burgeoning arts community, an increasing number of interesting adaptive reuse projects in formerly abandoned buildings, and important improvements to infrastructure and the public realm.

ERA Principal Scott Weir, who led our group visit, was raised in and around Detroit and has watched the city change over the years. He is a mentor with DC3 and is currently leading three conservation and adaptive reuse projects across the river in Windsor, Ontario. Through creative research like ERA’s weekend trip, we hope to begin to re-forge important cultural links between Toronto, Windsor, and Detroit.

Thanks to Kim and Matt Clayson for welcoming us to their home, and to all the warm people of Detroit…. See you at d’Mongo’s!

For more amazing photos from our Detroit trip, please see the work of our friend Arv Slabosevicius.