Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Detroit's New Taubman Center

Middle school students at the new Henry Ford Academy in the Taubman Center in Detroit. All photos by Nathan Kirkman for Metropolis.

In November of 2009, I went back to Detroit after being in the Motor City for Project M (and starting a big debate with this blog post.) While in town during the Project M trip, I got a late night tour of the then-under construction Argonaut building . Once home to General Motors design group, the building was being renovated by the College for Creative Studies into an interdisciplinary design eduction and innovation hub, with activities ranging from a design-focused charter school to professional space for start-up designers. I saw the building in action this fall and wrote about its transformation—and the evolution of design education —for this month's issue of Metropolis magazine. See the excerpt and link to the full article below.

Inside the new Taubman Center in Detroit.

Back to the Future

A school dedicated to design-based learning opens in the very building where GM's legendary Harley Earl became the father of the modern car.

It’s an overcast day in early November, and the students of the Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies (HFA) seem especially charged. Deshon Mumford, a ninth grader, leads a tour of his new school and explains that some of the excitement may be because he and his classmates just picked their official mascot. The sixth-to-twelfth-grade public charter school opened eight weeks earlier with students from neighborhoods across the city of Detroit as the inaugural class, and now they are helping to establish traditions. Nominations were taken, votes counted, and from here forward the students of HFA will be known as the Mustangs. Deshon, a bright kid who likes to write poetry, says it wasn’t his first choice, but he appreciates the process. “We all got a vote,” he says. READ MORE.