Detroit Collaborative Design Center news
Lights, camera, action! Documentary spotlights Design Center's uniqueness
The intriguing work habits of the architects at the Detroit Collaborative Design Center inspired two Canadian film artists to make a documentary about the center and its "participatory design" operating methods.
According to Dan Pitera, the center's director, the filmmakers spent nine months taping workshops filled with breakthrough moments and capturing one-on-one interviews with the center's architects and its client, the Detroit Hispanic Development Corp.
The process, which is the subject of the film, engages clients and a variety of stakeholders in a series of interactive workshops facilitated by the center's architects on topics ranging from the budget to the building's qualities. The film illustrates how the Detroit Hispanic Development Corp. implemented the participatory system to determine a master plan for the 30,000-square-foot facility, which will provide music programs, tutoring, counseling and more for its community.
The documentary was screened at the CineUrbana Film Festival in Vancouver, Canada in June. The 70 hours of tape filmed during the project will be used to produce the documentary as an educational DVD. For information about the documentary, see http://souinternational.com/dcdc/.
Design Center director provides Detroit input on international exhibit
Dan Pitera, director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, joined a team of international architects, artists and academics on a research project called "Shrinking Cities." Pitera was tapped to collaborate on the committee because of his expertise in urban design and his affiliation with Detroit, one of the cities being highlighted in the study.
"I provided research on issues local to Detroit, which centered on arson in the city and mappings of various regional issues such as transportation, immigration and migration, and nonprofit development," explains Pitera, who says that Detroit ranks 32nd on the world's list of shrinking cities.
The other cities in the study include Ivanovo (Russia) Manchester/Liverpool (England) and Halle/Leipzig (Germany). The investigation has evolved into a traveling exhibit on display in museums in cities such as Venice and Tokyo. It will be on display in metro Detroit at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills from February-March 2007. For more information about the exhibit, visit www.shrinkingcities.com
Design Center introduces new associate director
Christina Heximer was promoted to associate director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center. Her most recent position was as research and design fellow at the Design Center. As associate director, she manages the center's finances, staffing and budget, and assists the director by collaboratively brainstorming the future direction of the Design Center.
Additionally, Heximer teaches the course, "Design: Acts of Social (In)justice," in the School of Architecture. Heximer received master's degrees in social work and architecture from the University of Michigan, where her focus was community organizing. She received her Bachelor of Art in Architecture from Miami University in Ohio.
International competition recognizes Pitera
Associate Professor of Architecture and Design Center Director Dan Pitera was a finalist in the James Stirling Memorial Lectures on the City. He was the only American finalist in the international competition.