SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – The Kresge Foundation has awarded a $300,000 grant to Lawrence Technological University to consolidate four programs that it already has in Detroit and add additional programs at a new design center in Detroit’s Midtown area.
The LTU Center for Design + Technology will anchor a new commercial building that Midtown Detroit Inc. will build at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Willis Street. Construction will begin later this year for a three-story commercial building that is scheduled to open in fall 2014.
LTU’s College of Architecture and Design has long-standing relationships in Detroit’s urban core, and currently has four programs operating in the city:
• Detroit Studio, located in the New Center area, has been providing design support for neighborhood and community-based projects in Detroit since 1999. The latest student project is the development of a master plan for Rouge Park on the west side of Detroit.
• detroitSHOP is an urban design studio in the renamed Chrysler House in downtown Detroit. Most recently, the studio, working in cooperation with Quicken Loans and Bedrock Ventures, has undertaken projects in the central business district and along the M-1 transit corridor.
• Studio Couture is a storefront exhibit space on Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit. It exhibits the work of LTU design students, as well as artists in the Detroit region and national exhibitions. Additionally it offers lectures and panel discussions surrounding the topics of architecture, design and urban issues.
• A satellite classroom located in Ponyride, a design studio, recently converted an underutilized parcel into an urban miniature golf course built with reclaimed materials.
“Having all LTU’s Detroit projects and academic programming under one roof will provide synergies that will make all of the programs stronger,” said Amy Green Deines, associate dean of LTU’s College of Architecture and Design. “This new prominent location on Woodward Avenue will lead to more opportunities to engage organizations and groups that are working to rebuild and rejuvenate the city.”
The first phase of approximately 8,000 square feet will provide space for these four programs, as well as Studio[ci], an LTU research lab that draws on the expertise of professional architects, urban designers, and civil, mechanical, and environmental engineers. Additionally, this phase will implement a K-12 educational outreach program.
The second phase of approximately 6,000 square feet will provide space for other LTU programming, such as the makeLab, which provides digital fabrication services for a wide range of design projects.
Lawrence Tech has a long history of student engagement in projects in Detroit and many other southeast Michigan communities. Frequently, the student work helps community groups, businesses, residents and civic leaders evaluate and develop new ideas and solutions.
“We continue to work with professional partners to facilitate positive community change. We have educated and will continue to educate designers and innovators who will change the course of Detroit and the region,” Deines said.
The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private, national foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations working in its seven program areas: arts and culture, community development, Detroit, education, the environment, health, and human services. In 2012, the Board of Trustees approved 410 awards totaling $130.5 million; $150.3 million was paid out to grantees over the course of the year. For more information, visit kresge.org.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. Payscale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 7 percent of universities for return on undergraduate tuition investment, and highest in the Detroit metropolitan area. Lawrence Tech is also listed in the top tier of Midwestern universities by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review. Students benefit from small class sizes and experienced faculty who provide a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student clubs and organizations and a growing roster of NAIA varsity sports.