Urban renewal programs and the construction of freeways in the 1960s abruptly halted life in Paradise Valley and the Black Bottom neighborhood. Although condemnation of properties began in 1946, the National Housing Act of 1949, then later the 1956 National Highway Act, gave the city the funds to begin an urban renewal project in earnest. Black Bottom was a predominantly Black neighborhood in Detroit that was demolished under the guise of "urban renewal" and made way for what we now know as Lafayette Park Residential District.
Designed by world reknowned architect Mies van der Rohe, this district is considered one of America's most successful post-World War II urban redevelopment projects and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 1, 1996.
Its 46 acres encompass three distinct sections: 21 multiple-unit townhomes and a high-rise apartment building on the west side; Lafayette Park, 13 acres of greenery, recreation facilities, and a school; and twin apartment towers and a shopping center to the east. The complex showcases Mies van der Rohe’s favorite modernist themes: exposed steel, tinted glass, and aluminum. The district is the largest collection of buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, widely considered one of the 20th century's greatest architects.
Walking the streets of Lafayette, Antietam and Rivard one can marvel at the design of these residential structures without even knowing that these structures stand in place of a community completely displaced.
And it is with this observation that we crafted Lafayette using specialty Arabica beans from Brazil, Ethiopia and Indonesia to highlight the complexity of Lafayette Park's history while also paying homage to the richness of its soil which was home to elders past.