New Corktown 

Fifty-year Masterplan for Detroit

The project, a contribution to the American Pavilion of the 2016 Venice Biennial, speculates on a renewal of the entire district of Corktown in Detroit as a high-density environment built with mass timber. Conceived as a time based protocol instead of a traditional master plan, the project integrates the cycles of construction and obsolescence with those of nature and agriculture into a holistic system that becomes a total environment and a proposal for how cities could work in the future. It is widely acknowledged that per capita energy consumption in the U.S. must be cut by 75 percent in order to keep the worst effects of global warming in check. We believe that the only way to achieve such drastic reductions is through urban development built to densities that support mass transit. Predicated on an imminent carbon market, New Corktown exploits its most valuable resource—its existing urban footprint and current excess of available land—to become a new model for the integration of open space and high-density construction.

Project authors: Albert Pope and Jesús Vassallo
Photography: Nash Baker

© Jesús Vassallo, 2020