LTU Center for Design + Technology to break ground in August

The Kresge Foundation has awarded Lawrence Technological University $300,000 to help its College of Architecture and Design consolidate all Detroit programs inside the new LTU Center for Design + Technology opening in 2014.
 
The university is based in Southfield but has a strong presence in Detroit, with four programs currently offered across the city. There is the Detroit Studio in New Center, the detroitSHOP in Chrysler House, Studio Couture downtown on Woodward Avenue, and a satellite classroom and design studio inside Ponyride in Corktown.
 
It was recently announced that LTU would be the anchor business of a new two-story commercial construction development in Midtown at the corner of Woodward and Willis. Despite the main campus being in Southfield, Associate Dean Amy Deines feels a presence in the city is integral to the students' curriculum, emphasizing the importance of having the College of Architecture and Design students engage with the urban environment.
 
"With the Center itself we'll be able to consolidate the four programs we have in a very practical way," she says.
 
LTU has received huge support from Midtown Detroit Inc.'s Sue Mosey as well as Quicken Loans. The detroitSHOP will be relocating from the Chrysler House to the Federal Reserve Building while the Design Center is under construction.
 
The Center will feature open studio spaces that encourage collaboration between students of different disciplines, from architecture to graphic design. "My interest is that students use each other's skill sets to come up with a new model," Deines says. "The way the space is designed really supports that open conversation." The Center will also host artists from all over the region and country to "expose the community to the relationship between art, design, and architecture."
 
Currently Deines is still raising money for the roughly 14,000-square-foot Center. LTU will control the whole second floor and has currently secured funding for about 7,000 square feet of space, which will include studios, conference rooms, a research lab, and a 1,200-square-foot storefront gallery on the ground floor. This first phase will also include K-12 outreach and summer camp programs.
 
Additional funding will allow LTU to further expand its programming at the Center, including makeLab, which will provide digital fabrication services for a wide range of design projects. Ideally Deines would like LTU to control the whole building and collaborate with other architecture and design schools and businesses to turn it into a shared design community space. 
 
LTU students will commute between both campuses for a well-rounded urban design center and traditional classroom experience. Deines hopes to implement a shuttle program between the two, which would also tie into the school's transit design program.
 
The Center will break ground in August and will be completed next fall.
 
Source: Amy Deines, Lawrence Technological University Associate Dean
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Nicole Rupersburg is a former Detroiter now in Las Vegas who regularly writes about food, drink, and urban innovators. You can follow her on Instagram @eatsdrinksandleaves and Twitter @ruperstarski.
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