Rev. Daniel J. Reid, Esq.
"Andrew Carnegie once said, “It marks a big step in your development, when you realize that other people can help you do a better job than you can do by yourself.” (After all, you can’t whistle a symphony; it takes an orchestra!)
Mr. Carnegie’s principle never proved truer than it did in the Fall of 2002. When Professor Kim, armed with 16 of his design students, accepted the challenge of providing conceptual designs for what would ultimately be a new facility for the Greater Quinn African Methodist Episcopal Church. These students, armed with little more than a desire, came together to help a community. In watching these students struggle for approximately 15 weeks, I witnessed for myself the one common denominator that made it successful. That common ground was their attitudes. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts, more important than past, and even more important than present. Attitude outweighs education and comes before wealth. It’s more important than circumstances, than heartbreak, than success, than what other people think, say, or do. Attitude will make or break an organization, a company, a school, a church, a home, a race, an enterprise, and yes, an individual.
The attitudes exhibited by the students from Lawrence Technical University were nothing short of fantastic. The zeal that they displayed in approaching their project was only outweighed by the love that they showed to the Greater Quinn Church family. The end product was so special that I am truly proud to say that each one of them proved that they are worthy to be called a part of our family.
If I have to sum up the result of this great endeavor, I would have to speak like Paul the Apostle and say, “We have shared together the blessings of God.""
David. E. Payne
The Greater Quinn A.M.E. Project: Two Years
They say it takes a village to raise a child. The older I grow those words continue to ring with accelerated clarity, profoundness, and truth. In the fall of 2002 sixteen design and planning students learned the many contextual abstractions of the word village. In the fifteen weeks that we worked on the A.M.E. project we came to know the congregation of a small, but proud, church in one of Detroit’s many forgotten neighborhoods as our village. More than granting us an unprecedented opportunity to work outside the classroom on a large scale urban revitalization project the congregation reinforced a concept often lost in the freedom of the design studio, people are the essence of architecture.
I have faith that each of my fellow students will go on to much larger and more impressive projects in the years to come. That they will assist in the progression of architecture and that they will achieve success within the fields they have chosen. I don’t, however, believe any of us will find clients as willing to teach, assist, and learn as those we found at the corner of Rosa Parks and the Davison. Men, women, and children who will remain with each and every one of us as we shift from academic to professional not because of the awards and adulation that this project went on to receive but for the opportunity they granted us to discover the true nature of our passion. I can say now, with time passed, that it does take a village to raise a child and in the case of at least one student it took a congregation to raise an architect."
Elterro Trent Carroll
Chief Development Officer
Detroit Housing Commission
"The Modernization/Development Department of the Detroit Housing Commission through its planning sessions reviewed the 16 LTU concepts of the 8 study focus areas for the Villages at Parkside. The realization that the design studio students saw great potential in what DHC is attempting to implement via the development of additional housing, compelled staff to continue working towards better defining the near-term and short-term revitalization strategy for the Villages at Parkside community.
The Detroit Housing Commission’s Administration and my Development staff greatly appreciate the time and effort expended by the LTU-Detroit Studio’s faculty and students during the 2004 academic year in developing the master plan concepts. These concepts and the related research provided viable alternatives that are being considered for the revised Revitalization Plan for the Villages at Parkside.
The Master Plan concept we jointly created for redeveloping this community has already aided the agency in planning the future development of new housing. The extensive neighborhood analysis, the research into planned and ongoing residential and commercial development in the area, and the compilation of maps and demographic data associated with the study area that was provided by LTU, have each been utilized in determining the best approach to revising the Villages at Parkside Revitalization Plan.
LTU-Detroit Studio’s project oriented curriculum and the enthusiasm of the students and their ideas have provoked greater thinking about the possibilities available to DHC in planning the future of the Villages at Parkside. This exercise truly demonstrates the value of accessing programs like this and points out what an agency like DHC, working with a hands-on educational program like the LTU-Detroit Studio, can achieve working together."
Nicholas G. Banda
Director of Planning and Economic Development
"I wanted to thank you and the students of the LTU/Detroit Studio for letting me participate in the City Centre Plan we worked on this past semester. It was truly invigorating for me to interact with you and the students as we looked into the future of the City Centre Plan here in the City of Southfield. The process let me see things through fresh eyes and open minds as we together worked our way through making this area of Southfield a dynamic “place” for the residents, business community and even the “students” who we found out exist within this area in numbers far beyond what we thought we knew existed.
I hope that I brought to the table the history and thought process that went into developing the initial City Centre plan and the students led by you, certainly brought a fresh approach to molding the future land uses within the district based on their research and field observations. I believe that we analyzed the plans in a new and exciting way always balancing the real world factors like land cost, potential income implications and usability in designing the awesome final proposal’s the teams came up with.
The final presentation and products were met both with excitement and amazement to those in attendance at our open house. I get calls every week waiting to see the final report. Hopefully some day the students who worked so hard on the project will see their dreams develop into a place they can visit or hopefully find a job in!
Thank you again for letting me be part of such and exciting semester. Good luck to you and your students in the future. I firmly believe they all have a bright future ahead of them based on their work ethic I expensed in working with them. It was time well spent on my part."
Mildred Hunt Robbins
President, West Grand Boulevard Collaborative
The West Grand Boulevard Collaborative (WGBC) is both pleased and grateful that the LTU Detroit Studio has taken on the work of producing the second phase of a design study for West Grand Boulevard between the Lodge and Jeffries freeways.
Under your professorship, the quality of work being produced by the Detroit Studio Community Outreach Program is thorough, comprehensive and inspiring. The students; understanding of the practical needs of the study area is being expressed with intelligence, creativity and sensitivity.
We appreciate the Detroit Studio Community Outreach Program for its open communication with the WGBC and the community at large. Your students; presentation at the West Grand Boulevard Collaborative (WGBC) annual meeting (November of 2009) remains a topic of enthusiastic discussion. The scholarship demonstrated by Detroit Studio participants is deserving of praise and their ability to communicate ideas with clarity is admirable.
This letter is prompted by a feeling of gratitude for the important service the Detroit Studio provides in Detroit, and the WGBC is grateful to be direct recipients of the scholarship and community service provided at the Detroit Studio Community Outreach Program.
The work the LTU Detroit Studio is producing is important to the revitalization of the WGBC community, and we extend heartfelt thanks for the application of your experience and expertise to this vital component of our plan to restore and refresh West Grand Boulevard.
The WGBC thanks you and your students of the fruits of the education being offered at the LTU Detroit Studio. We are fortunate to have you in our midst.
Eric J. Hill, PhD, FAIA
Professor of Practice in Architecture,
University of Michigan Taubman College
For the past decade Dr. Joongsub Kim and his Detroit Studio students have made a significant, progressive difference in Detroit and beyond. Under Joon’s inspiring leadership, scores of emerging architects and urban designers have engaged real problems for real clients, resulting in real improvements in the lives of people and organizations which might not otherwise have access to high caliber planning and design. This is not the stuff of romantic revitalization - e.g., see-through buildings as depicted all too often in the popular and even professional press - but the hard work of community engagement and difficult problem solving on shoestring budgets.
As it has been my privilege to serve as an advisor and visiting critic to Dr. Kim's Detroit Studio for these many years, I’ve marveled at his untiring commitment and tenacity in remaking Detroit, one small step at a time. Dr. Kim’s architect-cum-educator model is locally meaningful and nationally applicable ... and altogether meritorious.