December 18, 2018 (Detroit) - The three finalists in the international design competition launched by the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and Midtown Detroit, Inc. (MDI) in collaboration with twelve Cultural Center partners, will present their concepts at the DIA on Wednesday, January 23 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. in Rivera Court. The event is free and open to the public. The date also marks the opening of the A New Vision for Detroit’s Cultural Center: The DIA Plaza/Midtown Cultural Connections International Design Competition exhibition, featuring the three finalist design teams’ proposals, which will be on view at the DIA until April 1, 2019.

The 12 participating institutions in the cultural district are the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History; College for Creative Studies; Detroit Historical Museum; Detroit Institute of Arts; Detroit Public Library; Hellenic Museum of Michigan; International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit; Michigan Science Center; The Scarab Club; the University of Michigan; University Prep Science and Math Middle School; and, Wayne State University.

The January 23 presentations represent more than a year of input from the project Steering Committee with representatives from the cultural and educational institutions in the district, as well as representatives from MDOT and City of Detroit Planning and Development Department, and professional advisors, along with community input gathered from over 40 public engagement sessions hosted across the city.

This input was used by the finalists to develop a plan that will foster an enlivened, accessible, sustainable, and inclusive public space. Stakeholders from each of the institutions have been working collaboratively throughout the design competition process to not only strengthen the sense of community in the area, but to open new conversations about the meaning of public space and opportunities for shared resources, programming collaborations to serve the needs of residents and visitors as well as students in the ever-changing landscape of Detroit.

“This important project is establishing new levels of collaboration between the district’s institutions,” said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA Director. “The design teams that will be presenting on January 23 offer an opportunity for residents of our region to learn how each firm will work with input from stakeholders and community members to ultimately create a plan for a public space in the cultural district that is connected, welcoming and active.”

The initial 44 submissions to the competition RFQ from more than 10 countries and 22 cities were narrowed down to eight firms, each of which presented their ideas to a panel of jurors at a public event at the DIA on June 13 and 14. Each of the three design teams presenting as finalists in the competition include Detroit-area firms as partners. The three design teams and their partners are:

  • Agence Ter, Paris, France. Team partners are Akoaki, Detroit; Harley Etienne, University of Michigan; rootoftwo, metro Detroit; and Transsolar | KlimaEngineering, Germany. Information at

  • Mikyoung Kim Design, Boston. Team partners are James Carpenter Design Associates, New York; CDAD, Detroit; Wkshps, New York; Quinn Evans, Detroit; Giffels Webster, Detroit; Tillett Lighting, New York; Cuseum, Boston; Transsolar | KlimaEngineering, Germany; and Schlaich Bergermann & Partners, New York. Information at 

  • TEN x TEN, Minneapolis. Team partners are MASS Design Group, New York; D MET, Detroit; Atelier Ten, London; Local Projects, Boston; HR&A Advisors, New York; Dr. Craig Wilkins, University of Michigan; and Wade Trim, Detroit. Information at

The three teams will present their concepts to a jury of thought leaders and professionals in the fields of architecture, urban planning, art and arts administration, including: Maurice Cox, Urban Planning Director for the City of Detroit; Salvador Salort-Pons, Director, President and CEO, Detroit Institute of Arts; Julie Bargmann, Associate Professor Landscape Design, University of Virginia, Founder & Principal, D.I.R.T. Studio; William Gilchrist, Planning and Building Director, City of Oakland, California; Jonathan Massey, Dean, Taubman School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan; Cara McCarty, Curatorial Director, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Jo Anne Mondowney, Executive Director, Detroit Public Library; the artist Mario Moore, and Richard L. Rogers, President, College for Creative Studies.

The winning team will be announced in the Spring of 2019.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how our arts and cultural district operates, and we hope that the public will take advantage of the many planned opportunities to provide feedback on what they would like to see and experience,” said Susan Mosey, Midtown Detroit, Inc. Executive Director.

The DIA Plaza and Midtown Cultural Connections design competition planning process is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, William Davidson Foundation, and the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation with support from the Boston Consulting Group Detroit Office led by Xavier Mosquet.

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA’s collection is known for its quality, range and depth. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible with support from residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.