Transient Collective – a Proposal for the New Zimbabwe Cultural Center in Detroit


The Zimbabwe Cultural Center of Detroit is in the process of moving from the founder Chido Johnson’s home to a larger public building in the same neighborhood. As a part of the Taubman Public Design Corps, Transient Collective worked with the community partners - Chido Johnson and Power House Productions to reinvent the relationship between art and architecture within the Cultural Center.

The Cultural Center is a place for the collective where architecture is its organizational structure and art is the instigator for funding. This gives us an opportunity to invite new emerging artists to the table who invigorate the center with an aggregate of art objects that are integral to the urban plan. The artists take over the site to work on the different art objects that are integrated into the medium of architecture itself.

All these art objects activate the urban plan and are constantly evolving based on funding and multi-dimensional project ideas brought by the visiting artists and local residents, making the Cultural Center an ephemeral entity where the art and the architecture effortlessly feed into each other.

This experiment is an exercise to imagine the space to be a strong, vibrant and inclusive center that is always being operated on by the collective group that is engaged in its sustainability.

Community Partners
Zimbabwe Cultural Center
Chido Johnson
Kenneth Crutcher
Alissa Shelton
Power House Productions

Student Team
Abirami Nachammai Manivannan
David Siepmann
Elyssa Bakker
Jessica Yelk
Madison Rogers
Yiying Tang

Faculty Mentor
Anya Sirota

For more information about the Zimbabwe Cultural Center, visit this link.