Tell us about living in Detroit. What neighborhood do you live in and what makes your neighborhood unique?

Detroit is a city of startling contrast. As a resident of downtown Detroit, I see the growth in downtown and midtown as an asset to the rest of the city. Downtown Detroit is a construction site, a sports fans playground, an all-night party, and a start-up’s dream. It offers something for everyone from sports bars to speak-easies, galleries, coffee shops and yoga studios. Downtown Detroit is small enough to understand on a walking tour but large enough to always be discovering new places. Every morning, I look up at beautiful examples of mid-century American architecture on my walk to work. I am amazed by Detroit’s connection to history that is seen in the life of its buildings and its people.

What have you learned from Challenge Detroit so far?

Since moving from California, Challenge Detroit has been an extraordinary, fast-paced introduction to the city. I have learned an incredible amount from my 41 peers who come from diverse backgrounds. I have appreciated the perspectives of the native Detroiters who have taken the time to show me around. The fellowship has already shaped by design process as an architect. Challenge Detroit encourages design thinking, a process that employs empathy, ideation, and prototyping as a way to promote collaborative design. In addition, Detroit is a city that demands your attention and inspires active participation in citizenship. Moving to Detroit has deeply affected the architect that I will become.

Tell us about your host company and your role in the organization.

ROSSETTI is an architecture firm with a focus on sports and entertainment. The company has a long history of design and investment in Detroit. Innovative thinking creates spaces that amplify the audience’s experience and generates value. ROSSETTI developed Return on Design TM a strategic design approach that bridges the gap between business concerns and architecture by educating clients on how specific design choices could affect financial outcomes. I joined the team as a designer and have had the opportunity to work on projects at various stages in the architectural process.

We asked ROSSETTI about Elizabeth’s work at the organization and the impact in is having, they shared: 

Elizabeth has been working on a Ford Field suite renovation project for the Detroit Lions. Elizabeth’s role as a junior designer on ROSSETTI’s Ford Field suite renovation team has led to her significant contributions in the re-imagining of the premium fan experience within the existing stadium for the Detroit Lions. She has been involved in many facets of the project process beyond conceptual design, assisting in the coordination of other consultants and in the translation of design into construction documents. Elizabeth’s contributions are well-regarded and her commitment, talents and passion have been a welcome addition to the ROSSETTI team.

What kind of impact do you hope to have with your host company and within the city?

Detroit is at a pivotal point. Architects, urbanists, and community advocates must all take an active interest in creating sustainable development in the city. Since moving to Detroit, I have immersed myself in the city’s design culture. At ROSSETTI, I hope to be a resource and connection for colleagues who want to have conversations about Detroit and increase their involvement. I will add to an office culture that values excellent design. Outside of the office, I hope the impact I make through Challenge Detroit will be the beginning of a design career that betters and empowers communities.

What are you most looking forward to as you continue your fellowship year?

I look forward to waking up every morning believing that the work I am doing is helping shape Detroit’s future. I love working with a diverse group of young people who share similar desires for Detroit’s success. I hope that this year will bring continued personal growth as I develop a career in architecture.

What do you envision for Detroit 10 years from now?

I envision a city that attracts young people who want to take part in a community of active doers. I envision a city that invests in education, culture, accessible public transit and green infrastructure. Detroit will be a place with room for continuous incremental growth and a place where people support each other.

To learn more about Elizabeth’s time as a Challenge Detroit fellow check out her spotlight video!