Trui Moerkerke is a Belgian journalist who moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan with her family in the Summer of 2016. She decided to make the most of the waiting-for-the work-permit-time. She is fascinated with Detroit and studied to become a tour guide. There is so much to see, so much to tell. As a journalist and former editor, Trui knows a thing or two about storytelling. Trui is still writing for Belgian magazines and newspapers and she founded A Dose of Detroit. She's ready to take you on a guided tour in this amazing city (in Dutch, French and English).
Fans of modernist architect Mies van der Rohe can't skip Lafayette Park. The legendary German-American, director of the German Bauhaus school and movement in the 1930s, is mainly associated with his work in Chicago, but it is in Detroit that you'll find the biggest collection of van der Rohe architecture. Lafayette Park, built at the end of the fifties, contains 186 houses and 3 apartment towers, all textbook modernistic architecture: clear lines, lots of glass, and a combination of concrete and glass.
For this residential development, van der Rohe collaborated with a city planner and a landscape designer. The public park surrounding the houses and apartments creates a tranquil oasis close to the city center.
After World War II, Lafayette Park wanted to create housing for the growing middle-class in Detroit. Lafayette Park has been hailed as "one of the most spatially successful and socially significant statements in urban renewal" and as a "prototype for future urban development predicated on human values."
On the website Mies Detroit, you'll find information and guidelines for a visit. The Mies van der Rohe Townhouses are located on private property. Nevertheless, in practice, they are relatively easy to visit and view from the public streets and adjacent public sidewalk around the complex.
An ideal way to discover Lafayette Park is the 'self-guided' tour by Michigan Modern.