Save - As: The Archive of Obsolete Objects

Engaging with Existing and Future Neighborhood Revitalization


  • Allegra Pitera University of Detroit Mercy


As a product of the Detroit metro area, over time I have witnessed various attempts, both successes and failures, to ‘save’ Detroit, as if the people of the City did not have the capacity to do the work themselves. Historically in terms of the urban design and architecture, much of the saving has either manifested as demolition or ‘restoration’. Two extremes: either abandoning existing resources in favor of starting over with a blank slate; or not making use of technical advances or community feedback and attempting to recreate an architecture based on outdated contexts. Certainly, some buildings just cannot or should not be saved. But what I intend to address in this paper is a methodology of architecture academic studio projects tying to and building on Detroit’s rapidly changing urban landscape. A series of current and past projects are addressed, both in Detroit and from the classroom. The focus is on specific academic and built projects that are conceptually connected to the ethos of Save As Detroit.