Detroit’s long and tortured love affair with the automobile—at once a driver of the city’s economic might and an engine of destruction for its urban fabric—is the thematic backdrop for PARK(ing), a public space that makes equal accommodation for people and their cars. Created by Charlottesville, Va.–based D.I.R.T. Studio in collaboration with local Detroit developer Prince Concepts, the project occupies what had been an asphalt-surfaced, open-air parking lot on the periphery of Core City Park, a 21,000-square-foot green space completed in 2019. D.I.R.T.’s objective was to allow continued convenient access to the park by visitors living beyond walking distance, while also assimilating the car park into the overall design scheme, making it an extension of the natural landscape rather than a mere concession to the city’s car culture.
Urban Design & Architecture Design Awards 2024: Entries Open!
Take your work to the next level. Register Now…
Silver 🏆 Winner
Urban Design & Architecture Design Awards 2023
Public Landscape Design (Built)
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Julie Bargmann (D.I.R.T. Studio) DESIGNER: Andrew Schwartz
Core City, Detroit
©Chris Miele and Andrew Schwartz
The team realized this singular vision through a series of design choices aimed at creating an authentic sense of place: Switching out the drab blacktop for rustic, bluish stone, the architects embedded the individual parking spaces in a verdant bank of sumac, maple, and juniper trees that runs around and through the site, pierced with paved paths leading to the surrounding sidewalk. A delicate balance of greenscape and carscape, PARK(ing) represents a promising model for similar urban conditions throughout Motown and beyond.