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Residential Buildings at Brush Park

Collective Endeavor

Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects - LOHA

Residential Buildings at Brush Park
By Raymund Ryan -

Jim Jarmusch’s film Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) posits a pair of stylish vampires, played by Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston, existing precariously in Tangier, Morocco and Detroit, Michigan. Hiddleston, the Detroit lover, inhabits a large claustrophobic house with a classical porch and tower-like corner. When he leaves his Victorian redoubt, always of course at night, this modern vampire retrieves a sleek Jaguar XJS from behind the overgrown lot, a feral and mostly empty place that extends across much of the immediate precinct. In Jarmusch and Hiddleston’s Detroit, there were few visible neighbors.

That benighted condition has begun to change, at least in sectors of Detroit, home to America’s giant automobile industry yet afflicted, for the past half-century or so, with urban blight and with severe social and economic imbalance. The house that Hiddleston’s character inhabits is at 82 Alfred Street, immediately adjacent to Woodward Avenue, the great axial boulevard that extends Beaux Arts-style from the historic core of Detroit to the affluent communities of Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills (where Eero Saarinen practiced in the 1950s and where his father, Eliel, laid out the idyllic Cranbrook Educational Community).

Immediately east of Hiddleston’s lair, the flat urban landscape is now, in real life, being dramatically remade. Should cinema’s vampire emerge off his porch and look right, he would see the dapper,
cedar-clad apartments recently completed by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) at 2660 John R Street. Tarrying further afield, he would notice new residential buildings lining both sides of – essentially reconstituting – Alfred Street; and that all four corners of the superblock are anchored by distinctive taller buildings. Each is clad in a signature material: western red cedar, dark grey brick, bright red metal and pale concrete panels.

Named for John R....

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