On the Drawing Board

Art and Architecture Collaboration in Detroit

On the Drawing Board seeks to discover and situate the creative potential when artists and architects collaborate by inviting seasoned practitioners to create a project in Detroit, offering students direct exposure to the inner workings of collaboration. During their visit, not only do they offer insights and feedback to the students’ work as experienced professionals, they will initiate their own public site-specific project in Detroit – a model of learning by doing for the students. The students’ first-hand experience will immediately fold back, in a parallel fashion, into each of their own collaborative team proposals. This innovative model of learning offers not only opportunities for cross-disciplinary engagement, but also highlights the space of creative potentials during the proposal and development phrase of any project. On the Drawing Board underscores the integration of professional practice outside the classroom with core objectives of a creative design project.

Professional practice is often opaque in the classroom setting. Professional activities are ‘learned on the job,’ disconnected from academic setting. This opportunity frames the learning beyond the classroom setting to develop ‘soft’ skills necessary for networking, partnering, problem solving, and leadership. To steward a public project involves navigating through different systems and institutions. The aims of this collaborative endeavor are not only to learn these ‘real world’ critical skills, put into practice, but also to simultaneously incite curiosity and foster creativity across disciplinary boundaries as an integrated project.

This project also seeks to bring international visibility to this region by inviting globally recognized artists and architects who previously have not had any interaction with the university or surrounding institutions.

Project Team

Tsz Yan Ng, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

David Chung, Stamps School of Art and Design