Dirt ‘n Decadence
- 28 May 2012 by laila 4 Comments
DESIGN & DECAY IN DETROIT
For all the jokes over the years about Detroit — being dangerous, abandoned and depressing — it has never lost its underground appeal to those who see beauty in urban decay. The stunning, delapitated architecture brings photographers from all over the world who are incredulous over the fading monuments built during the automotive boom in the early 20th century.
“Detroit was called the Paris of the Midwest,” my father and Art Historian Michael Farrell said, “Beirut was called the Paris of the Middle East. Now people say Detroit looks like Beirut.”
Buildings, like the abandoned Michigan Central Depot here, loom everywhere in the city waiting to be imploded, restored or repurposed. No one really knows the fate of some of these structures but they can imagine. These high dynamic range photographs here and above explore vivid images of the building. All the locals have memories of that this building meant to them as children. See more of these photos uploaded to NAXJA.
Designed by Warren and Wetmore (the same firm responsible for Grand Central Terminal in New York City and many of the surrounding buildings in Terminal City), The Michigan Central Depot reflects the decorative Beaux-Arts architecture of the time and opened in 1913 serving as a vital artery in the business stream during the automotive boom. The depot closed as a train station in 1988, ironically because train popularity had been replaced by passenger cars.
Think you recognize this building? It was used as a backdrop in the movies Transformers, The Island, 8 Mile, Four Brothers as well as Kid Rock and Eminem music videos. Visual artists see a story in the old depot and, therefore, it has taken on a life of its own.
What will happen to it? There has been talk about that for a long, long time. Perhaps because of our collective memories of the building, the only answer is a collective one. Enter Talk to the Station, the crowdsourcing ideas for the future of the Michigan Central Depot. Also, Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley has also offered a great idea for the future of the building including making it into a first-rate college with a working station underneath.
“Nearly 100 years after the Corktown landmark opened as a passenger hub,” she wrote in the Freep, ” it could serve as a global education hub, drawing students from around the world and taking a page from Harvard’s Center for International Development, where researchers find ways to combat global poverty. The unique hub of work space, transportation space and education space would transform an entire section of the city.”
Sadly, most of us have stopped getting excited about the future of the MCD. We are weary of the city’s broken promises so we have grown to see the beauty in its urban decay.
To learn more about the crowd sourcing attempt to repurpose the building, watch the below video.