The people who work in the cafeteria, push the wheelchairs should be able to live in the same neighborhood as the doctors and the nurses. This is one city and I want to make sure that there’s room for everybody in every neighborhood.
— Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan


PROSPER TOGETHER A once densely populated site, Brush and Watson is now a 60,000 SF vacant lot of City owned parcels on the eastern edge of Brush Park. We were charged with bringing density back to the site in a rapidly changing neighborhood of scattered Victorian mansions and newer mixed-use developments quickly filling in the voids. In an effort to address the housing inequities, the City of Detroit has required all developers operating on City land or receiving public subsidies to provide a minimum 20% of the units to be affordable. Our Client has a long history of providing affordable housing, with over 12,000 units across the country. THIS MIXED-INCOME DEVELOPMENT SETS ASIDE HALF OF THE 180 UNITS FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING, targeting a wide-range of affordability options with rent and income limits ranging from 30% to 80% of the Area Median Income. The affordable units will be financed using Low Income Housing Tax Credits. 

MASSING This birds-eye view shows the scale of the buildings on site and adjacencies to surrounding context. An abandoned church building sits just north, on axis with our new promenade, giving renewed value to this forgotten relic. Project amenities are collected and distributed throughout the Brush building. An outdoor green roof terrace anchors the southwest corner of the fourth floor with views of the neighborhood and city skyline. A fitness room takes up the south facade at the fifth floor with unobstructed views through a large wall of glass.




SITE PLANNING AND HEIGHT STRATEGIES Because the site was mostly devoid of existing context, we began our conceptual design investigation by looking back in time at the historical context to inform the site strategy. This lead to an attitude about the placement of buildings on-site and gave us hints about building heights and space between buildings. Historically, buildings were taller along the commercial corridors of Brush and Beaubien and shorter residential infill existed on the mid-blocks. Ultimately, three building masses were proposed, each running north to south across the site with the tallest, 5-story building along Brush, a 4-story building on Beaubien and a lower 2 and 3 story structure runs through the center of the site. An effort was made to maximize the number of street accessed walk-up units to create more activity throughout the site. Walk-ups occur in the Beaubien building and the Urban Studios. The Brush building uses its retail component for a similar affect. Underground parking for the entire development is accessed along Watson Street to the north, along with loading and entry to the new promenade. An existing Greenway passes our site to the south and west, which allowed us the opportunity to open our site to the south and engage with this expansive trail connecting more than 20 miles of the City.


ONE DETROIT FOR ALL Careful attention was given to the public green space surrounding the buildings; a vehicular and pedestrian promenade referencing the old public alley will again traverse the site allowing access to the new walk-up URBAN STUDIOS situated mid-block. A public plaza and community green space will activate the eastern pocket of space created between buildings and provide a shaded reprieve for residents and the community. These one and two bedroom micro units range in size from 250 to 450 SF and will provide a housing option for recent grads or professionals looking for a desirable location in downtown Detroit with close access to sporting and entertainment venues, as well as the Detroit Medical Center.