Taubman College

College Events / Archives

2010-2011

Symposium: Woodward Avenue and the 21st Century Library

04/22/11
A+A Auditorium (Rm 2104)
Art + Architecture Building

Join Taubman College architecture undergraduates and professionals from the library sciences to discuss the library's critical role bridging an economically driven digital divide in society today. Across vibrant and blighted communities alike, the district library acts as a community center, a safe haven, a threshold between isolation and connectivity. In particular, the Woodward Ave. corridor area is discussed and examined by the architecture undergraduates in Architecture Design (ARCH 322) and librarians respond.

Symposium discussants:
Craig Buthod, Louisville Kentucky Free Public Library Director
Paul Courant, University of Michigan Librarian and Dean of Libraries
Josie Parker, Ann Arbor District Library Director
Carol Terry, Rhode Island School of Design Fleet Library Director of Library Services
Karin Trainer, Princeton University Librarian
Jennifer Maigret, Assistant Professor of Architecture, symposium moderator

About the class:
Architecture Design (ARCH 322) focused on the contexts in which we build, how people perceive the urban environment, how buildings fit contextually into existing circumstances, and how outdoor spaces relate to built forms. The course concluded with a design of a building of modest scale and complexity.

Details:
The course studied the urban, architectural, social and environmental contexts along the length of Woodward Avenue (M-1), a key artery in Detroit's transportation network. In addition to enabling the birth of Detroit's automotive industry (hosting the Ford Plant-Highland Park, the first mile of road paved with concrete and the first electrified traffic light), Woodward Avenue is positioned as an important link to an alternative future of public transportation. Woodward Avenue serves as a threshold between the "dream cruise" automotive corridor and a string of residential communities; we considered the contextual dimensions of architecture through the program of a district library. Amidst the high rates of unemployment tied to Michigan's changing industrial past, the district library serves a critical role bridging an economically driven digital divide. Across vibrant and blighted communities alike, the district library acts as a community center, a safe haven, a threshold between isolation and connectivity.

Thus, I set pen to paper with delight,
And quickly had my thoughts in black and white.
For, having now my method by the end,
Still as I pulled, it came; and so I penned
It down: until it came at last to be,
For length and breadth, the bigness which you see.
John Bunyan, "Apology from The Pilgrim's Progress"


Course instructors:
Jen Maigret, Coordinator
Heidi Beebe
Caroline Constant
Ellen Donnelly
Julia McMorrough
David Eugin Moon
Tsz Yan Ng
Tony Patterson
Sean Vance
Mick McCulloch, GSI


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