Builders of Promise: A Community Center for Detroit


Late last year we had the pleasure of being introduced to the Builders of Promise organization through the 1% Program of Public Architecture. 1% is a fantastic program that connects nonprofits with architects and designers to provide pro-bono design services (but more on that in a later post).


Feasibility & Design


Our studio donated its time to develop a feasibility and concept study for a new community center in Detroit, MI planned by Builders of Promise.  The study included a site access analysis, phased site development strategy, facility space program and basic building massing concepts.  

The first community project developed by Builders of Promise (BOP) was the reclaiming of an underused and blighted neighborhood city block and transforming it into a cooperative garden.  Therefore, we thought it appropriate that the first formal headquarters building for BOP integrate a garden concept at the core of its planning.  There are 3 gardens in fact: A living garden, a parking garden and activity garden.  In addition, our concept proposed opportunities for a mixture of flexible multi-purpose spaces, community kitchen, and education areas.  One interesting aspect of our concept that demonstrates how program and garden all work together is the link between the Living Garden and the Community Kitchen: fresh fruits and vegetables are grown on-site within the Living Garden that are then used in the Community Kitchen, where the food is prepared and served to needy individuals on a daily basis.  In a sense, the new community center becomes farm-to-table provider of food for the community.  

While the project has not been realized to date, it was a pleasure to work on and commit our time to an organization dedicated to building a better world.