three architecture students chasing their dream

making sustainable housing accessible for everyone

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Rebuilding Detroit

transforming broken-down houses into self-sufficient homes

The Motown Movement

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    Why do we do it?

    Fight climate change by creating a sustainable society.

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    How do we do it?

    Inspire people and make sustainable technology accessible for everyone

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    What do we do?

    Design an affordable and DIY method to transform broken-down houses into self-sufficient homes.

Before we visited Detroit as architecture students, we expected to see an exceptional phenomenon happening: a metropolitan city in full decay. Instead, we saw a city putting itself back together and recovering its lost glory. What a resilience. This inexhaustible dedication inspired us as young architecture students.

When the financial crisis of 2008 forced the municipality of Detroit to file bankruptcy, it looked like the battle was worsening for the city that has been plagued by setbacks. The effects of this catastrophic event are still very present in everyday life: broken-down buildings, empty neighbourhoods and high criminality rates.Therefore, it’s not entirely inexplicable that outsiders think of Detroit as a ghost town. Nonetheless, the inhabitants today will argue very differently. Detroit has managed to do the unthinkable: turn the end of days into a laboratory of the future.

The vast increase of people abandoning their homes has created heaps of open lots and left behind a great amount of recyclable materials. Fortunately, it didn’t take long before residents started to recognize its opportonities. Only in the last few years several great urban initiatives led by entrepreneurial citizens emerged, such as urban farms, art installations, communal sport fields, recycling projects, and more. This powerful adaptiveness of the people of Detroit proves the city to be future proof.

Inspired by the Motor City’s Do-It-Yourself spirit, we see great potential in implementing modern but down to earth technologies in the current reconstruction. Together with all Detroiters we want to connect research, education and community in the project. The open source renovation method will be implemented and demonstrated in an exemplary home that will be given back to a family who recently lost theirs. The community will be enhanced with one more home rehabbed and inhabited, young and creative students put their knowledge to practice and young men and women will be able to visit and learn about the low-tech and low-budget methods for retrofitting an existing house. By developing methods for transforming a traditional American suburban house into a self-sufficiënt home, sustainable housing will be accesible for everyone

Our aim is to inspire homeowners. Together we can fight climate change, reinforce communities and save on energy consumption. By sharing our exemplary housing project we also push other people to act and follow through their ideas for change; turning an initiative into a movement.

The Motown Movement is part of a non profit organisation called The Future City Initiative.

Target

Before
After

The method

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Reduce

Reducing living costs by:
Adding extra insulation to lower heating bills. Installing an energy efficient heat pump to replace the old fashioned boiler system. Building a green roof to buffer water during heavy rains and insulate the roof.

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Reuse

Reusing materials and energy to:
Drastically bring back construction costs. Avoiding the loss of useful waste materials e.g. for insolation or construction. Turning surplus heat from surrounding industries into a communal heat source. Bringing back clean water usage, by using rainwater to flush the toilet and spray the garden.

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Renew

Renewable energy helps increasing your savings and saving the environment with: Solar panels to produce electricity and heat from sunlight. Urban farming to stimulate communal involvement.  A septic tank to turn domestic sewage into biogas and plant nutrients, that can be reused for the urban farm.

The plan

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Support us

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Why should you do it?

  • Create a sustainable society
  • Fight climate change
  • Making sustainable technology available for everyone
  • Be the change you want to see in the world
  • be a part of the motown movement
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What can you do?

  • Support through crowdfunding
  • Help us building! contact us and visit our home in detroit!
  • Sponsor in materials and building tools
  • Like, share and spread the word!
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What do you get?

  • your name on the facade
  • overnight stay in the house
  • the motown movement poster
  • the photobook
  • the documentary (dvd)
  • love and peace

Press

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The team

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Bob Hendrikx
Co-founder

“TAKING PART IN THE URBAN LABORATORY OF DETROIT PROVIDES ME WITH AN UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO BETTER THE WORLD AND INSPIRE PEOPLE WITH OUR ENTHOUSIASM. TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE.”

Bob came to earth in the city of innovation and light: Eindhoven. During secondary school he started a company which specialized in maintaining and designing gardens. Since 2012 he has been studying architecture at the University of Technology in Delft. In his third year he put together a minor as part of his bachelor, containing an internship in Amsterdam at the firm Mooi Lost Op, which specialises in transforming old buildings, and an intership in Berlin at the architectural firm Wilk & Salinas, which are know for their floating swimming pool, named ‘Badeschiff.’ Receiving an A for his final bachelor project, Bob acquired his bachelors degree with honours. During this final project, he invented a new building method which he is eager to put into practice. Besides his study Bob loves to be an entrepreneur. In 2014 he started his own creative studio called ‘de Vlaggen Kamer’, which focusses on graphic design, film, architecture and branding. With his distinct vision on the current ways of building, Bob sees a unique chance in applying a sustainable building method in Detroit, using his biggest passion: sustainable architecture.

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Dominik Lukkes
Co-founder

“I hope we can play a part in the current movement that strives for the revitalizing of Detroit and that we can inspire other people who want to make a difference.”

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Dominik was born in 1993 and raised in the small picturesque village of Weidum, in the most northern province of the Netherlands, Fryslân. After finishing secondary school, he swapped the countryside for the city and went to study architecture at the University of Technology in Delft. There his affection for architecture grew rapidly and in 2014 he did a 3-month internship on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. During this internship he did a small study on the opportunities for sustainable building in the region of the Caribbean islands. This was when his interest for sustainable building began to take form. For the final project of his bachelor he designed a sustainable and completely demountable building that would fit within the circular economy. The circular economy is a rising theme within the world of designing and building and it aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, meaning there is no waste in the cycle. During the final project, his friends Bob and Ronen approached him and asked him if he wanted to join them on their adventurous trip to the United States. Not entirely unexpected, it didn’t take him long to think about it.

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Ronen Dan
Co-founder

‘I came to Detroit to be part of the emergence of a resurrecting city. My hopes are that we contribute to this movement in an exemplary sustainable way.”

Ronen was born in 1993 in Breda, The Netherlands. Architecture has been his passion since he’s been 9 years of age. However travelling was not long off. Before starting his bachelor degree of architecture at the University of Technology in Delft, he worked and travelled several places around the world. He never felt uncomfortable when thrown in at the deep end. He did so when travelling and continues to do so with the project in Detroit, MI.

During his studies he took a course in Sustainable Urban Development, which gave him lots of insights in urban development around the world and the social importance of architecture. The Motown Movement is his first contribution to making architecture for the people and helping create a sustainable future. He states architecture is not just stacked bricks, it’s the physical form of a social ideology. Therefore each brick placed is embedded in the ideas and values of the designer. Given Detroit is recovering from a unparalleled downfall, it’s the perfect urban laboratory for the future city.

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Supporter

“I WANT TO BE PART OF THE MOTOWN MOVEMENT”

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You can be part of the team too! In all probabilty it crossed your mind once to support charity. Perhaps by making a donation or by volunteering in a project abroad. It is not only to straighten the worlds structural inequalities, but also to help regions that had to face sudden adversities, such as Detroit, to get back on their feet.

Every little change helps a lot. It’s undisputed. It inspires and motivates and thus gives hope for otherwise discouraging situations. So every little support we get, helps us as well. You can be part of the movement in just a few clicks!

Be the change you want to see in the world

Ambassadors

“As Rector Magnificus of the TU Delft I support this initiative.”

Karel Luyben

Rector Magnificus of the TU Delft

“As Rector Magnificus of the TU Delft I support this initiative.”

Francine Houben

Founding Partner / Creative Director of Mecanoo

“As the mayor of the city of Delft, I support these students in their battle against climate change.”

Bas Verkerk

Mayor of Delft

“The sustainable transformation of broken-down houses can play a key-role in the revival of Detroit.”

Anke van Hal

Professor of Sustainable Housing Transformation and Development at the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture

“In today’s built environment there is an ongoing quest for the right innovations for sustainable building. However, the egg of Columbus has not been found yet. That’s why I support this project.”

Thijs Asselbergs

Professor of Architectural Engineering at the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture

“Worldwide it is essential that the built environment adapts to climate change, changes to a fossil-free system and becomes part of the circular economy.”

Andy van den Dobbelsteen

Professor of Climate Design and Sustainability at the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture

“Regeneration of social values and energetic regeneration of the existing urban tissues, including residential housing and infrastructures are both urgent and reciprocal. The Motown Movement is a pioneering initiative that combines both and takes them as a lead for positive change, and therefore has my full support.”

Arjan van Timmeren

Professor of Environmental Technology and Design at the TU Delft Faculty of Architecture

“Regeneration of social values and energetic regeneration of the existing urban tissues, including residential housing and infrastructures are both urgent and reciprocal. The Motown Movement is a pioneering initiative that combines both and takes them as a lead for positive change, and therefore has my full support.”

Lars Graebner and Christina Hansen

Lecturers at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urbanism, University of Michigan

“Regeneration of social values and energetic regeneration of the existing urban tissues, including residential housing and infrastructures are both urgent and reciprocal. The Motown Movement is a pioneering initiative that combines both and takes them as a lead for positive change, and therefore has my full support.”

Stephen Vogel

FAIA, Senior Principal at the Detroit Collaborative Design Centre

“Regeneration of social values and energetic regeneration of the existing urban tissues, including residential housing and infrastructures are both urgent and reciprocal. The Motown Movement is a pioneering initiative that combines both and takes them as a lead for positive change, and therefore has my full support.”

Susan Mosey

Executive Director at Midtown Detroit Inc.

“Regeneration of social values and energetic regeneration of the existing urban tissues, including residential housing and infrastructures are both urgent and reciprocal. The Motown Movement is a pioneering initiative that combines both and takes them as a lead for positive change, and therefore has my full support.”

Kevin McNeely

Chair Board of Directors at United States Green Building Council - Detroit Chapter

“Regeneration of social values and energetic regeneration of the existing urban tissues, including residential housing and infrastructures are both urgent and reciprocal. The Motown Movement is a pioneering initiative that combines both and takes them as a lead for positive change, and therefore has my full support.”

Tom Stanton

Researcher for the National Regulatory Research Institute

“Regeneration of social values and energetic regeneration of the existing urban tissues, including residential housing and infrastructures are both urgent and reciprocal. The Motown Movement is a pioneering initiative that combines both and takes them as a lead for positive change, and therefore has my full support.”

Scott Shall

Associate Dean at Lawrence Technological University

“Regeneration of social values and energetic regeneration of the existing urban tissues, including residential housing and infrastructures are both urgent and reciprocal. The Motown Movement is a pioneering initiative that combines both and takes them as a lead for positive change, and therefore has my full support.”

Michelle Oberholzen

Founder of The Tricycle Collective

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

FAQ

Why did we choose to rebuild Detroit?
Detroit is recovering  from a heavy setback. The strong do-it-yourself culture has inspired us and made us want to come up with new ideas for sustainable building together with the community. We believe that strong collaborations are the key to making this city a model of a sustainable city.

Why are we the ones to help?
Why are we not to help? We are committed, non-profit, young architecture students. All three of us finished their bachelors degree and are eager to use our knowledge for making a better world. We believe that architecture is a powerful tool in rebuilding and reshaping the current non-sustainable societies in the world.

Why should you help Detroit if you don’t live there?
Well, you’re not only helping Detroit. You’re tackling climate change, which affects us all as you certainly know. Also you’re giving an example of how to live and build sustainable in one of the wealthiest but most polluting countries in the world, the USA. Do you see the potential?

How are we going to rebuild without any carpentry experience?
We will hire and get help from reliable professionals. Together with our community partners in Detroit and the Netherlands we set up a multi-disciplinary team that can handle the job.

How will we use our fundings?
FAQs-Pie-Chart

What will happen with the house after it’s finished?
To make an example of the house, it will be kept open for the public. The house will be an open source for our affordable and sustainable method. Do you want to make your house more sustainable? Our home will be the example of how you can do it in an affordable way. We want to inspire the people so together we can start the movement!

Can anyone give advice or help on site?
Of course! Any help is welcome! You have seen people doing something similar or are you inspired by a different kind of project. Let us know!

Sponsors

Contact

The Motown Movement
The Future City Initiative

(m) info@themotownmovement.com
(NL) +31 6 177 474 26
(USA) +1 313 204 5572
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