October 16th was the 50th anniversary of the ground breaking at Mies van der Rohe’s Lafayette Park. Read the Detroit Free Press article here.

A great series of architectural photos of LP can be found here.

I really love this project. I visited Lafayette Park about four years ago – MAGNIFICENT!

It continues to be a success because the people living there take personal ownership of the place. I think personalization of a place is more easily achieved with this type of architecture. Having studied architecture under a version of Mies’ curriculum, principles of good site planning and building planning (putting things where they work best) were primary: the “style” was secondary. The architecture does not pre-scribe the aesthetic for its owners. Rather, it serves as a canvas for life to be lived well upon.

The other aspect that I think adds to LP’s endurance is Alfred Caldwell’s landscape. In this book, there are side-by-side images of the original plantings and how they looked at the time of publication, which is really cool. Having the private and public green space in Detroit offers opportunities to commune with nature, in your own back yard. I also think Caldwell’s naturalistic landscape design is the perfect counter point to Mies’ simple architecture. The chaos to the calm.

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