d.tour: The DIA Plaza and Cultural Connections Competition

The DIA Plaza and Cultural Connections Competition began through an international competitive RFQ process, followed by public presentations in Detroit. A shortlist of three teams were invited to create a design proposal for the 6-month competition phase. As the design lead, the landscape architect led a team of seven consultants ranging from architects, engineers, experience designers, and economic development experts. The final proposals were presented publicly at the DIA and were part of a 3-month exhibition.

 The cultural district is made up of twelve arts, cultural, and educational institutions clustered together geographically in Midtown, Detroit. The district is fragmented, hard to navigate and does not feel like a true destination. The institutions do not operate as a collective, and while some have started unique programmatic and education-based collaborations, many of the institutions are facing financial challenges. The opportunity to create a coherent, inclusive, accessible and sustainable cultural district that will attract tourists, help all institutions thrive and better serve all Detroiters is a rare, but vital opportunity.

Client - DIA and Midtown Cultural Connections

Type -  Master Plan, Cultural, educational, public space, Competition

Status -  waiting for approval

Area - District

Location - Detroit, Michigan

Team - Ten x Ten, Mass Design Group, Wade Trim, Local Projects, HR&A Advisors, DMET Design, Craig Wilkins, Atelier Ten


Nested within the armature of the former steel mill, the mammoth steel structure becomes legibly grounded to the site, revealing the rich history and regenerative future of this place while providing new landscapes made from remnants of this site.






Firmly grounded in an understanding of the metrics of the project’s challenges (soil contamination, progressive sustainability goals, economic growth generation to maximize impact, activation of the site for workers and the adjacent community, and preservation of industrial heritage within a very tight construction budget ), the Mill 19 design lays the groundwork for a new type of regional economic hub that celebrates Pittsburgh’s tough industrial legacy, instigates growth and renewal, and reconnects the community to one of the region’s most beautiful assets – the Monongahela River.