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60,000 sq ft of food production 10,000 gallons of fish tanks


As Detroit’s metro center has become less dense due the decline of city manufacturing and the continual suburban sprawl to far reaching neighborhoods, local communities have initiated the takeover of empty lots with urban farming practices. 


The goal of this project was to reinvigorate a currently empty lot in a similar vein with an aquaponics center. A large aquarium and a landscaped urban park were incorporated early into the design. The idea is to create a spectacle both to draw in arguably wealthier residents from greater Detroit suburbs and to also provide a zone of respite with interactive green spaces in a mostly concrete and pavement area.


The 300,000 square foot site is situated between a collection of casinos & tourist attractions, several municipal buildings, and two major & active sports stadiums. The exterior landscaped seating and water features are free and open to the public year round with a large outdoor pond doubling as an ice-skating rink during the winter months. This aims to capitalize on the draw of nearby destinations while serving local residents. 


The interior builds off the Biodome precedent and is a ‘macro’ version of the basic aquaponics premise - plants atop water working in symbiosis. The aquarium is situated on the Northern edge of the building, receiving the least direct sunlight, and protected by layers of vegetation growing on walkable platforms. The smart slabs contain HVAC equipment while also facilitating the transfer of fish nitrates for plant life. 


The outer shell features semi-translucent frosted glass throughout, creating a glowing greenhouse effect with consistent lighting that extends beyond the full light of day. LED track lighting along the structural members provide additional light for plant growth during months with less natural light.


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