Location
Core City - Detroit, MI

Status
Completed in 2017

Services Rendered
Site planning, design, 3D modeling & renderings, construction documents, construction administration

Team
Developer: Prince Concepts
Design Architect: EC3, Edwin Chan
Architect of Record: Studio Detroit
Photography: Chris Miele, Michele & Chris Gerard

Awards
2017 Progressive Architecture Award
Architect Magazine Cover, February 2017
Multi-Family Development of the Year, Architect’s Newspaper, 2017
Mies Crown Hall America’s Prize Finalist, 2018
True North is a mixed-use development and open community that has put Detroit on the map in a new way. In addition to receiving two national design awards and being one of six finalists for the 2016/17 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize, the project is the first new construction in Detroit’s Core City neighborhood in 60+ years.  

For aesthetic and economic reasons, the client desired to utilize Quonset Huts, a prefabricated lightweight structure. The client sought a visionary design team to transform the Quonset Huts from its preconceived purpose into a welcoming and hospitable design for contemporary living in Detroit. One of the first steps of the design process was to host a community engagement barbeque and several rounds of questions and answers. Following the green light from both the community and the city, True North proceeded into construction and was fully realized in less than one year.  

The .57-acre development is comprised of nine rental residences and shared community spaces with over 40 newly planted trees. Located two-and-a-half miles from Downtown Detroit in a quiet, spacious neighborhood, it is pioneering for both where and what was built. Each hut is strategically placed across the site to maximize openness and security, views and privacy, socializing and solitude. Each structure is assembled on top of a four-inch concrete slab with in-floor radiant heat, which is also the units finished floor. The end walls feature custom steel framing around polycarbonate panels that provide privacy, security, natural light and thermal value. Each interior is unique and designed to inspire different creative lifestyles in Detroit, with sizes ranging from 475 to 1,600 square feet. Most of the units feature an interior polycarbonate “island” containing a kitchen, a bathroom, and a mechanical/storage closet. Above the island, a mezzanine platform provides occupants with a flex for any use, to encourage a variety of creative people to call True North home.