Welcome to Open Architecture Detroit! It is our mission to harness the knowledge and experience that resides in each Metro Detroit neighborhood in combination with our design expertise to promote sustainable projects that have a lasting impact on the community.

Detroit Chapter

The Detroit Chapter was founded in 2013 by a small but dedicated group of design professionals, who wanted to make a positive and lasting change in the city. We are committed to: 1) Work with local non-profits and community organizations to provide design services to underserved neighborhoods. 2) Engage volunteers of all skill levels to support and participate in community design projects.

MEET OUR TEAM! Alex Derdelakos, Lisa Kulawczyk, Irsida Bejo, Stephen Lentini, Danielle Wilson, Josh Lipnik, Andrew Laszczyk, Grace Kulawczyk.

  • 9 Active Members
  • 13 Total Projects

Community Kitchen

Brightmoor Artisan’s Center Community Kitchen and Retail Cafe. A community space for the many urban farmers in Detroit’s Northwest neighborhood to collect, wash, prep, package and distribute their home grown goods.

  • Design Completed 2015
  • In-progress

Back Alley Bikes

Back Alley Bikes is a non-profit bicycle repair and education shop in Detroit’s Cass Corridor. The program offers hands-on experience in building, maintaining, and restoring bicycles, offering kids and adults the opportunity to learn more about, exercise, craft, and their community. Having found an opportunity to expand their popular shop, Back Alley Bikes opened a design competition to the public to engage neighbors, students, and other organizations in defining Back Alley Bikes’ future spaces. Open Architecture Detroit and students from the University of Detroit Mercy’s AIAS chapter teamed up to create a submission for the design competition, later selected as the winning entry.

  • Completed August 2015
  • 13 Volunteers

Ramp Construction

The Detroit Chapter was contacted by a homeowner in Metro Detroit that had been trapped in his house for months due to his disability. The chapter immediately put together a drawing set, received permits and began construction. In a matter of a few months of design and construction the homeowner was finally able to get out and about without much trouble.

  • Completed in 2015
  • 12 Volunteers

Maker Space

The Mt. Elliot Maker Space provides an opportunity for kids in late elementary school to high school with an afterschool learning space. The Maker Space offers a wood shop, bike repair shop, and computer training area where kids can learn life skills through interactive projects and get homework help with one on one mentors. Operating from a space within the Church of the Messiah on Detroit’s East side, the Makers sought to redesign their space in order to better serve the needs of their program. 

A collaborative design process with the Makers led to the creation of a prototype for the mobile partition units that make up a key component of the design.

  • Completed in 2015
  • 8 Volunteers
  • 1 Prototype


Thanks to a minigrant by DC3, we were able to design and construct DETROIT-O-POLIS::Play, Park, Learn [the city], a Detroit-based monopoly for kids of all ages. This playground/installation was done as part of Detroit Design Festival’s Youth Day.

  • Completed 2014
  • 11 Volunteers

PARK(ing) Day

PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens activate metered parking spots as sites for creative experimentation, cultural expression, and spontaneous social interaction. We brought this powerful ‘reclaim the city’ movement back to Detroit as part of Detroit Design Festival’s Light-up Livernois program. The project was supported by Revolve Detroit.

  • Project Date: 2013
  • 4 Chapter Teams/Designs

First Project

Part of our first project was to help clean up a home in need of some repairs. Part of or project was to fix the main overhang and balcony of of the building as well as to add an addition of ramp to the east side of the building. We are thankful for everybody that came and helped and supported us.