Adaptive Reuse in Post-Industrial Detroit: Testing the Viability of the Engine Works

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2008-08-29

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The decline of heavy industry and manufacturing in today's major cities has created a serious dilemma. These industrial areas which once brought success and vitality to our cities now exist only as derelict reminders of the past. Through adaptive reuse this thesis reinterprets the industrial landscape as a resource for future growth. An example of post-industrial Detroit, the abandoned Dry Dock Engine Works facility no longer is the vital center of activity it once was. Using this isolated building on the Detroit Waterfront as the site of operations, this thesis seeks to establish a link between past and future, combining multiple new land uses (museum, market, ferry terminal, business incubator) and existing site elements (building, river, rail/trail) to generate a ripple effect of social energy. The interaction between these diverse elements not only creates a new "reason for being" for the Engine Works, but a reason for growth in a shrinking city.

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