(Editor-at-Large Walter Wasacz writes a weekly column on life in Hamtramck.)
By Walter Wasacz
A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a design charette at HKS Architects, a worldwide firm with Detroit-area offices in Northville.
I was invited to comment on a project that was part of work being done by students in architecture, interior design, urban design and fine art who’d qualified for an HKS design fellowship.
The project? The redesign of the former Hamtramck Police Station (and before that, a residence for nuns connected to St. Francis Hospital) into studios, exhibition and performance spaces for HATCH, the community arts organization founded in 2006.
The group bought the building — on Evaline St. across from City Hall — for $1 from the city and is now renovating the site.
HATCH founder Christopher Schneider was at the charette to lend an insider’s perspective on the group, the building, the neighborhood and what he called an explosion of art-related redevelopment projects in Hamtramck and other nearby sections of Detroit.
There was a tight focus on the students’ work by several judges from art & design programs in southeast Michigan: U of D Mercy, Lawrence Tech and the University of Michigan among them. Sharp critiques and ideas circled the large room, where dozens of professionals and students sat and stood.
The design work and the physical work at the HATCH building are ongoing. We’ll revisit the progress of this exciting project as we get updates. Meanwhile, take a look at some pictures from the charette. Models and drawings of the building were created by students selected for the HKS Detroit Fellowship.