Green[ware]house Transformation

An abandoned warehouse – the former Detroit Harbor Terminal – is re-envisioned as a combination greenhouse and park.  In the context of the vegetation-focused Master Plan, the building exists as a center for remediation of the brownfields covering the Delray site, containing all necessary program to accomplish this task.

Specifically, the greenhouse enables phytoremediation, the process of removing toxins from polluted soil via the distribution and cultivation of specific plants.  This also imbues the site with a new significance, creating a cultural icon.

Formally and programmatically, the project mediates two logics: scientific rationality (the greenhouse) and the experiential (the warehouse-turned-garden.)  This is all embedded within the existing logic of efficiency, of the existing warehouse.

Floor plates are deconstructed to shift the spatial configuration from a standard warehouse to an array of terraced greenhouses and a column-filled park and hanging gardens.  Greenhouses are organized along terraces in a roughly North-South orientation, allowing them more sunlight by preventing them from casting shadows on each other.  These greenhouses extend into the surrounding landscape and orchard.   The greenhouses raise and grow the plants needed for advanced stages of phytoremediation, while the park encourages visitors to explore and view the methods being used to clean up the surrounding site.

There are two main paths of circulation: prioritizing greenhouse (experienced in section) and more directly accessing the garden area.  The garden experience is about ascending to different and greater views – a new one on each plane –  until finally being suspended on a catwalk overlooking the whole site.  The plant types mimic this logic, being all either climbing or hanging plants.  The experience of creating these moments of viewing the site within this garden context help to emphasize the transformation of the site of Delray through vegetation.

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