Friday, December 01, 2006

MOCAD --- In The New York Times

Detroit's new funky, raw and brutally honest museum of contemporary art got a nice article in the New York Times, which celebrates it's real deal aesthetic. MOCAD will gradually be upgrading and transforming the building over time.

"But the design springs from a profound rethinking of what constitutes urban revitalization. Designed by Andrew Zago, its intentionally raw aesthetic is conceived as an act of guerrilla architecture, one that accepts decay as fact rather than attempt to create a false vision of urban density. By embracing reality, it could succeed where large-scale development has so far failed.

Mr. Zago is uniquely positioned to grasp this context. Born in Detroit in 1958, he has vivid memories of the 1967 race riots that led the exodus of the white middle class. He remembers hearing white neighbors talk of fleeing to the suburbs as black families moved in. After departing with his family to a northern suburb, he saw the city decline to the point where it became a poster child of decay.

Only later, as a practicing architect in the 1990s, did he begin to see these decrepit neighborhoods as a legitimate landscape for architectural experimentation. “I didn’t want to romanticize it,” he said during a recent tour of Detroit, “but the city had a depth of character, a real substance and integrity. And while you want to do away with the problems, you don’t want to lose that quality.”

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