Here Are the Winners of the Inaugural Detroit City of Design Competition!

Last week, Design Core Detroit announced the winners of the first edition of Detroit City of Design Competition.

Design Core Detroit received 26 submissions from local and international design teams. The designers were from 31 UNESCO Cities of Design and were invited to prototype design solutions for Detroit neighborhoods that address safety and walkability.

Supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the goal of the competition is to design and test creative, innovative design solutions that make it easier for all Detroiters to move freely, safely and efficiently around their communities.

“We are inspired by the innovation presented in the winners and finalists and the way they demonstrate the value of design to the community,“ said Olga Stella, Executive Director of Design Core. “We hope these installations will pique the interest of private and public groups to commission the winning design teams to create permanent fixtures in these and other neighborhoods.”


A jury composed of community representatives, local and international design expertise narrowed the submissions to three finalists for each neighborhood.

  • Beverly Fredrick Community Representative, Grandmont Rosedale Development Corporation
  • Caitlin Malloy-Marcon Deputy Director, Complete Streets Program, City of Detroit Department of Public Works
  • Justin Snowden Smart Mobility Strategist, City of Detroit Office of Mobility and Innovation
  • Julie Rice Community Representative, Focus: HOPE
  • Myrna Segura Community Representative, Southwest Detroit
  • Dr. Erwin Viray Head of Pillar for Architecture and Sustainable Design at the Singapore University of Technology and Design


The pool of finalists hail from Detroit, MI, Montreal, Canada, and Turin, Italy. Jury members evaluated the submissions based on creative merit, appropriateness of solution for location and value for cost.

Here are the three winners of the Detroit City of Design Competition:

Hope Village: CYCLERATE by SmithGroup — Detroit, MI

Cyclerate aims to enhance public safety through unity, lighting, communication, and play. The installation, which lights up using kinetic energy generated by hand-powered cranks and stationary bike generators, encourages the community to work together to illuminate the structure.

Participants can also engage in a friendly competition with one another to identify who can produce the greatest power output on the cycles. Expect to be surprised by the power produced through real-time statistics.

The installation currently features LED lighting, Bluetooth speakers and USB power charging stations. With its built-in expansion capability, the scalable structure can accommodate additional cycles, componentry, and lighting. CYCLERATE will be located on the Southwest Corner of Dexter and Chalfonte

Southwest Detroit: Garden Novella by Other Works — Detroit, MI

Garden Novella is a platform to express cultural, collective and individual identity. It weaves together recorded stories from Southwest residents to serve as a guide through a modular system of welcoming vessels. Sun-powered lanterns, hanging gardens, seating, and the recorded stories combine to create an interactive environment.

The featured stories express the double consciousness experienced by many in the Southwest community; they aim to connect generations, repair the damage caused by repatriation and explore the process of translation in a bilingual community. GardenNovella will be located on the Northwest corner of Vernor and Clark St.

“With a design that integrates and highlights unique aspects of Southwest Detroit’s diverse cultural background, Garden Novella by Other Works supports our community’s vision for a healthy and vibrant neighborhood,” said Myrna Segura, the Director of Business Development at the Southwest Detroit Business Association. “By providing a platform for our community members to share their stories, we are forming a welcoming space where we all have the opportunity to express and preserve who we are.”

Grandmont Rosedale: 3Rooms by Collectif Escargo — Montreal, Canada

3Rooms consists of three spaces that are intimately linked to the world of the house—simultaneously conveying a sense of belonging and celebrating the beauty of united communities.

The first “room” is ‘’Le Jardin’’ (The Garden), where the community is invited to participate in agriculture. ‘’Le Boudoir’’ is for nap lovers, readers and anyone who desires a rest in the shade of fruit trees.

Finally, “The Hut” features a steeper incline, making it a perfect spot for anyone who wants to be a little more playful.

Each module lights up in the evening with a soft glow, functioning as a fireplace in the middle of the neighborhood. The hue alternates from red, blue, mauve or multicolored. 3Rooms is a safe cocoon for improvised gatherings.

Like a poetic metaphor of the surrounding houses, it is merry, bright, colorful and full of life.3Rooms will be located on the corner of Grand River and Puritan.

“Urban spaces have a tendency to become hard and cold if left unattended,” said Caitlin Marcon, Deputy Director of Complete Streets, Department of Public Works. “Durable materials that meet our need for longevity sometimes do not spark our desires for beauty. These prototypes harness the creative and softer qualities we seek while being functional for street life and gathering.”

Debuting in Beacon Park to an audience of over 40,000 during Detroit’s Month of Design in September 2019, the three prototypes will ultimately be moved to their respective neighborhoods in April 2020, where they will remain for four months. Each winner is commissioned $20,000 for the design and implementation of the prototype.

Congratulations to all three winners of the Detroit City of Design Competition!


SOURCE and Image Credit: Design Core Detroit/Olu & Company

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *