all who wander are not lost

Chene Park on Atwater Street in Rivertown, just east of the Renaissance Center GM World Headquarters complex. Designed by Schervish Vogel Merz Cardoza in 1984.

Cardoza also created the former St. Aubin Marina, and restored several historic structures in the Rivertown area.

The amphitheater was replaced in 1990 with one designed by Kent Hubbel to accommodate 5000 visitors rather than the original 1400 capacity.

Here is the USGS satellite view of the park – also including the former cement silos to the east, as well as the former MEDUSA/Cemex complex of silos to the west (left) which is currently undergoing demolition.

A project created by Mayor Colman A. Young to help establish useful areas along the otherwise industrial riverfront.

Nearby are the MEDUSA silos, currently being demolished.

These ironic structures, designed to reflect the forms of the cement company silos on each side of the park, will soon be idiosyncratic – as the silos are being removed. The forms not only echo the silo shapes, but are also harmonious in that they are created completely of poured concrete. A brilliant effort to assimilate an artistic piece of architecture into an otherwise inhospitable industrial setting.

The amphitheater is even designed to blend in with piles of raw industrial materials stored on the riverfront. The mushroom like canopy provides shelter as well as acoustic reinforcement.

The repetitive circular and cylindrical patterns make for a cohesive and compelling design – if not a little bewildering to navigate.

All in all a brilliant functional design. Hopefully the new development will open up this theater/park to more serious activities. In spite of having been separated from its silos, it is still a powerful statement along the riverscape.

3 Responses to Chene Park

  • I love this venue, it shows off a lot of what Detroit has to offer in the summer. The remarkable riverfront, a wonderful view of Canada, and that wonderful summer breeze that wisps off the river.
    All and all it has to be one of the coolest stages of it sort in the world!! If I have one gripe, it would have to be the terribly uncomfortable seats. I think that the music is so good, most of the time, that no one seems to care about the seating.

  • THE PARK/THEATRE IS VERY BEAUTIFUL… DOES THE PARK ACCEPT (MONITARY GIFTS?1 TIME ONLY?) IF SO WHERE/WHOM CAN I FORWARD IT TO? THANKS!

  • Indeed, it would be nice to see some more integration with the new plans and better shows. I’ve always enjoyed the theory of Chene Park.

    Peace