Monday, November 30, 2009

The Curious Case of Cobo

Lucked upon this article over the weekend in The Free Press (I'm not sure how I would possibly have anything to write about without this fine publication combining freedom and presses). The piece focuses on what, specifically, should happen to Cobo Hall with the planned $280 million dollar expansion. I found it particularly interesting because for some reason I always assumed that this expansion would include "bigger, grayer, with an extra dose of even more dreariness and a slightly bigger opportunity to rip on Cobo."'

I imagine most of the money will be used on some of the critical updates like trying to keep the rain from falling inside of the building. That is always a good goal with a building and one that Cobo has failed at over the past few years. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to do away with the carpet on the main floor of the building. I don't really need a whole bunch of patterned squares, each reminding me that I'm in COBO.

Some of the ideas mentioned in the article along with some of the corresponding mock-ups do seem like pretty fantastic variations of the most auto show-holdingest convention center in the land. The included pictures of the Boston, New York, and San Diego centers go quite a long way to really help me understand the opportunities that exist if we could get Cobo Hall right, or even closer to right. The article also mentions that the building is on the Riverfront, and yet does nothing to take advantage of this prime water frontage. There is so much that I assumed about this location, this building, and Detroit's general inability to make a legitimate splash, I completely closed my mind to some of the prospects that could make for a very cool building and another foundational block on which to slowly rebuild the prime areas of the city.

This post isn't intended to be funny or even all that clever. I just find it amazing that two days after reading ideas about Cobo, I'm still surprised by how my limited mind was not even capable of conceiving of something different for Detroit. What I'm saying is that even I am surprised by how short-sighted I can be.

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