|Landscape Architect:||Kenneth Weikal|
This beautiful urban garden packs in a number of different garden spaces, 35 raised beds, and several architectural features into a fresh and bright addition to Downtown Detroit.
The site was previously occupied by the 14-story Lafayette Building which was built in 1923 and was designed by notable Detroit architect C. Howard Crane. The building had a unique V-shaped footprint which allowed for natural light enter into the inner core of the building. By the late 90′s, the building fell vacant and by 2009 large trees had grown on its roof and most windows were boarded up. Several redevelopment and preservation plans were created to attempt to save the building, but the building had deteriorated to a point that the City’s development authority chose to move forward with demolition.
Compuware, a large technology company headquartered just a few blocks away, decided to work towards finding a new use of the prominent site. They opted to create an urban garden in order to ”beautify downtown Detroit in an innovative and hands-on manner; to create a space where employees, our downtown neighbors and visitors can learn about and enjoy gardening in an urban setting; and to encourage other downtown-based businesses and residents to reach out and transform the spaces that surround them.”
The garden includes several different spaces and functions. The 35 raised beds are formed by low corrugated metal walls with wooden end benches. Several hard-surfaced pathways provide direct access to the beds and help to create a strong organization for the space. A Heirloom Apple orchard and Red Twig Dogwood bioswale line the north edge of the park. The south boundary is formed by three uniquely designed garden sheds and a children’s garden. A central promenade runs in a north/south direction through the park and is framed by a metal ‘Kiwi Trellis’ and raised beds planted with lavender.
If You Go:
The garden is located near Campus Martius Park in the center of Downtown Detroit. A number of beautiful historic buildings and several park spaces are nearby. It is easily visible from the surrounding streets and can be experienced from adjacent sidewalks. The garden is open to the public during normal business hours but is not normally open on weekends. Park hours and specific visitation details are posted outside the park.
This work by Matt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.