The Campbell House & Incubator in Southwest Detroit

The Campbell House & Incubator is located on a corner lot in Southwest Detroit. Achieved from the renovation and adaptation of a three-story brick residence purchased from the Detroit Land Bank Authority, the Campbell House & Incubator transforms a house in service of growing community. The interior is gutted, and a rickety extension of porches facing the rear yard above the first story of masonry walls is demolished. Along Christiancy Street, from the one story of brick walls in the rear yard rises a translucent solar-facing volume: the Grow Incubator.

The Grow Incubator provides a space for nourishing small businesses, supporting local businesses for perennial flowers and related greenhouse products. A double height volume with access to the basement of the Campbell House and a shared fully accessible bathroom at ground level, the Grow Incubator is attached to the residential space of Campbell House but also independent from it. The Grow Incubator is designed to be an incubator for both business and education. The design incorporates feedback from local educators, and the exposed structure can easily accommodate new features over time. A backyard for outdoor planting complements the Grow Incubator with seasonal growing cycles. A two car garage sheds water onto this outdoor garden and provides additional planting area on its roof.

The existing basement of 1497 Campbell becomes the foundation for this new hybrid local space. The Grow Incubator, growing out of the foundations of the house, connects to the first two levels of the brick house and basement. Within this footprint a new clear volume of open space is built of multiwall polycarbonate, a flexible and lightweight material erected to an interior skeleton of structural lumber. The ridge roof of this new wood frame is skewed to orient the greatest exposure to a long southern facing plane to bring light from above, even through the Michigan winters.

A secure glazed wall separates the residential spaces from the activities of Campbell House from the Grow Incubator, while circulation connects the spaces at grade and the second floor. The attic of Campbell House serves as a dramatic work space with views to the Grow Incubator below. The 2nd level of the Campbell House supports two bedrooms, an upstairs lounge that spills out to the 2nd level of the Grow Incubator, and a generous bathroom with a steam shower. The southern facing polycarbonate roof of the Grow Incubator brings light into this 2nd floor of the Campbell House, while translucent glazing provides security and privacy to the interior. The ground floor contains an open kitchen and living room, a fully accessible bathroom, and secure egress to the Grow Incubator at grade and independent circulation to the shared basement. The basement provides space for vertical grow walls, LED beds for plants, aquaponics, and shared storage for both the Campbell House and Grow Incubator.