Core City Park | D.I.R.T. Studio

Core City Park takes the place of a former parking lot surrounded on three sides by buildings. In 1893, Detroit Fire Department’s Engine 12 was completed on this site, and served Detroit until the mid-1970s. From then until today the site was an asphalt parking lot that weeds, debris, and the occasional car called home.

Today, 85+ trees – Flowering Dogwoods and Iconic Locusts – have taken over the corner to create an “urban woodland”. Nearly everything used in the construction of the park was found on site – benches are sections of concrete walls removed from an old bank vault in the adjacent Pie Building; the “islands” – housing the benches – are a patchwork of found building pieces from the demolished fire-house which was simply pushed into the basement and covered with asphalt.

The park honors the past, and is built for the future – just imagine, 87 trees occupying just 8,000 square feet in ten years. Working with Julie Bargmann of D.I.R.T. Studio was a marvel – her idea to use what we found in any way possible gives the park spirit, relevance, intrigue, and most importantly – awakens a myth. Believe it or not, we were able to design and build this park with no engineers and no construction documents… just beautiful hand drawings, a lot of digging and days in the DIRT.

Landscape Architect | D.I.R.T. Studio
Images Credit | Chris Miele

Client | Prince Concepts

About Damian Holmes 3292 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at