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Detroit Waterfront District Design Competition

Participants will have the opportunity to design a building complex to redefine Detroit Waterfront skyline

Detroit Waterfront District Design Competition

This is a story that few people are happy to tell. It is a story that shining downtown skyscrapers hide. However, the deep wounds on the huge body of Detroit Waterfront prove it happened and still endures: countless battered dwellings, empty streets and abandoned buildings scar the city.  

It is difficult to tell how “the arsenal of democracy” – Detroit grew to be known as this in the early 1940s- transformed into the largest modern-day ghost city. Yet, history is full of contrasts. The pendulum of time often changes its direction. Time and again, where a void is created an opportunity arises.    

Detroit Waterfront District Design Competition

Indeed, over the last years strong winds of change have been whipping the city. They have blown the fog of the past away and dispersed the mist of decay stifling Detroit’s development for decades. As a result, many of the voids of the city – the wounds generated by depopulation and economic crisis- turned into new epicenters of urban regeneration. They became valuable canvas where to paint new masterpieces of contemporary architecture.

Detroit Waterfront District Design Competition

Detroit Waterfront District precisely focuses on the most fascinating canvas of all: the urban void overlooking the river amid downtown skyscrapers. Detroit Waterfront District is the competition promoted by Manni Group in collaboration with Sterling Group to design the future leisure and entertainment heart of the city of Detroit.    

Architects will deal with the area where stood the Joe Louis Arena beside the place where- according to tradition- Detroit’s founding fathers landed. Participants will have the opportunity to design a building complex to redefine the city skyline. They will generate superb architecture masterpieces to become the symbol of the revival of one of the most iconic and controversial cities of the history of the United States of America

Detroit Waterfront District Design Competition

Detroit Waterfront District Competition Details


  • First Prize: 10,000 €
  • Second Prize: 4,000 €
  • Third Prize: 2,000 €
  • Gold Mention - ISOPAN and TATA STEEL: 1,000 € - Aesthetics that Lasts - Assigned to projects featuring design finishes for the building facades
  • Gold Mention - ISOPAN: 1,000 € - Flat Roof Solutions - Assigned to projects that present architectural solutions of particular value in the design of flat roofs and green roofs
  • Gold Mention - ISOPAN: 1,000 € - Ventilated Façade - Assigned to projects that are of particular interest in terms of the energy performance of the building through the application of ventilated facades
  • Gold Mention - MANNI SIPRE and MGT: 1,000 € - The Power of Steel - Assigned to projects that highlight an extensive use of steel, a key material of the circular economy
  • 10 Honorable Mentions
  • 30 Finalist Mentions

All the awarded proposals will be transmitted to architectural magazines and websites + international exhibitions  

Detroit Waterfront District Design Competition


  • Daniel Libeskind - Studio Daniel Libeskind
  • Marie Hesseldahl Larsen - 3XN
  • Giulio Rigoni - BIG
  • Jean Paul Uzabakiriho - Mass Design Group
  • Enrico Frizzera - MANNI Group
  • Claudio Chimienti - TATI Steel
  • Rodrigo Duque Motta - Duque Motta & AA
  • Marcos Rosello - All Design
  • Jorge P.Sllva - Aires Mateus Architects
  • Michael Guthrie - In-Form Studio
  • Elie Torgow - Sterling Group
  • Clive Wilkinson - Clive Wilkinson Architects
  • Adolfo Suarez - Lombardini 22
  • Giovanni De Niederhausern - Pininfarina


  • Early Bird Registration: 60 €/ team + VAT
    28 September 2020 - 25 October 2020
  • Standard Registration: 80 €/ team + VAT
    26 October 2020 - 22 November 2020
  • Late Registration: 110 €/ team + VAT
    23 November 2020 - 20 December 2020
  • Material Submission Deadline: 23 December 2020
  • Jury Summoning: 11 January 2021
  • Results Announcements: 15 February 2021
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