Published : Model Perspectives by Bjorn Sandaker, Luben Dimcheff, and Mark Cruvellier

Located in Detroit, Michigan, the Rosa Parks Transit Center acts as both sculpture and infrastructure. To create such a detailed model of this complex structural system, many months of planning, construction jigs, and trial models were necessary. The final 1/8” scale model demonstrates the keen interests and knowledge of construction elements in the built landscape. Another critical component is the analysis of cost and sufficient material strength for this smaller scale. With my partner Ainslie Cullen, we chose to model this structure due to its complexity and unity of elements. The model of Rosa Parks Transit Center appears in Professor Mark Cruvellier’s latest edition of  Model Perspectives: Structure, Architecture and Culture, and it has been exhibited for the NAAB accreditation board.

The fabric both provides an aesthetic quality as well as a structural one. As the largest part of the structure, in terms of visibility, the fabric membrane swoops to connect both the physical and aesthetic aspects of the columns and trusses.
The Transit Center uses a series of complex construction elements including tension cables, inclined columns, fabric membranes, parabolic truss beams, and tensions rings.
Triangular in section, curved in profile, the trusses offer both critical structural support to the canopy as well as acting to mediate the connection between the fabric and the tension cables that support the structure. 
Parabolic truss beams as well as tension cables had to be recreated in miniature 1/8” scale.

All concrete elements were recreated with specific, refined concrete molds. Real materials such as asphalt were also used.

The use of water-jetting stainless steel helped create the mast tops connections and column pin connections.
Back to Top