(Readers: Please note the blog about the 5th revolution in the US is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, I think the story will be more meaningful by starting at the beginning.)

Want a PDF version for Entries #1-10, #11-20, #21-30 formatted for tablets and e-books?  Click links for download.  America’s 5th Revolution Volume I (Entries 1-10) America’s 5th Revolution Volume II (Entries 11-20) America’s 5th Revolution Volume III (Entries 21-30)

Scene: Jordan’s Office with the housing Guru.  Continuing conversation.

Guru: “OK, Jordan, we have our coffee refill.     Tell me what I need to know about making the rehab in Detroit more appealing.”

122213_1351_10GurusIdea1.gifJordan: “You consider yourself a car guy?”

Guru: “Huh? What do you mean?”

Jordan: “You answered the question. You’re not a car guy. Detroit still is the car capital of the world, even if many assembly plants have left.”

Guru: “Where is this conversation headed?”

Jordan: “Are you a fan of Motown music?”

Guru: “Who isn’t? Motown music is alive. It’s lasted several generations and cuts across all ethnic groups.”

Jordan: “And for good reason. The Motown sound is great music.”

Guru: “OK. So are you saying the rehab needs to incorporate cars and Motown?”

Jordan: “In spirit anyway. The rehab program has got to have a soul. It somehow needs to build the same kind of emotional bond that people have with their cars and people have with Motown music.”

Guru: “How am I supposed to do that?”

Jordan: “Guru, that’s your job. You’re the architect…you’re the designer. I’m just the client.”

Guru: “Give me some more guidance about what you want. Start with cars.”

Jordan: “Cars and trucks are very high tech. Today even the least expensive cars have extensive integration of electrical and mechanical components. Somehow the rehab needs to highlight the combination of electrical and mechanical functions. Show how automated functions can make an older building modern.”

Guru: “Like automated parking, for example?”

Jordan: “There you go. Perfect example.”

Guru: “Many of these old factories are wide – in fact, too wide for two modular units and still meet the code for natural lighting. We could have parking between the units…and automate the parking.

Jordan: “Automated parking inside the building that used to assemble cars. I like that.”

Guru: “Now, let’s try to build on that idea. What else can we do?”

Jordan: “How much electronics can you include in the building and in the modular units?

Guru: “As much as you want. All electric circuits and outlets could be integrated – just like a smart house. You can also link the circuits to a smart phone or car.”

Jordan: “What about upgrades to the circuits over time?”

Guru: “How many times are you going to ask me that same question?”

Jordan: “I don’t know. But the modular unit should be designed to allow the resident to upgrade easily wiring and other electrical features for at least 50 years, and preferably 100 years.”

Guru: “All the wiring is on the outside of the module and easily accessible for upgrades and any repairs.”

Jordan: “I know. But just want to make sure it can be upgraded easily.  By the way, we need to stop calling these modular units.  It’s confusing.”

Guru:  “What’s so confusing?”

Jordan:  “People think of modular in the same vein as double-wides.”

Guru:  “They’re completely different.”

Jordan:  “Maybe to you and people in the industry but not to most folks, me included.”

Guru:  “You have a better name?”

Jordan:  “What about ‘component construction’?  Sometimes the component can be large — like an entire unit — or sometimes small — like apportion of a wall.  Using the term ‘component construction’ is easier to understand and allows more flexibility.”

Guru: “Alright, we’ll call it ‘component construction.’  But I might slip every now and then.  Moving right along. What about incorporating the themes of different car companies – Ford, GM, and Chrysler? What about other companies?”

Jordan: “There were lots of companies. In 1910 there were about 400 companies nationwide making cars and some making few trucks. By 1920, I think the number was closer to 20 companies. Many became part of larger companies – GM included Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet and later Pontiac. Cadillac also had the LaSalle brand.”

Guru: “What about other companies that were not acquired. Wasn’t Packard in Detroit?”

Jordan: “Yes. A number of other companies were in Indiana – Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg, and Studebaker. But let’s focus on companies in southeast Michigan.”

Guru: “Alright. What else you thinking about?”

Jordan: “Well, we could name a floor after a company and use the theme from the brand for certain features or design themes on the floor. We don’t want to get too cutesy but capture some of the history.”

Guru: “You worked at both Cadillac and Buick, didn’t you?”

Jordan: “Yes, even though Buick was based in Flint, there is a lot of connection to Detroit. For one, Buick was the cornerstone for GM.”

???????????????Guru: “You know what I remember most about Buick? Portholes.”

Jordan: “You’re not alone. Portholes have been a Buick signature for 70 years.”

Guru: “Portholes are a great branding idea.”

Jordan: “The original portholes were to cool the engine but the look quickly became associated with Buick. Years ago when I was at Buick my nephew, about 9 or 10 at the time, and my brother were doing their weekend ‘Let’s go to the junk yard routine.'”

Guru: “Obviously true car guys.”

Jordan: “My nephew sees a stack of crushed cars and yells, ‘Look there’s a Buick. I see the portholes.'”

Guru: “What great brand identity. Recognizing a brand in a stack of crushed cars. That gives me an idea. We could use portholes or circular lamps on one of the floors or in the lobby. Tell me some other themes.”

Ford OvalJordan: “Ford uses the ‘oval’ in the middle of the grill. Chevrolet uses the ‘bow tie.’ The original Chrysler logo looks like an award ribbon. Cadillac has the crest. Fisher Body used what looks like a carriage for a queen. There are all kinds of logos.”

ChevroletGuru: “So if we wanted, we could incorporate some of the logos as escutcheons for door locks – the Ford oval or the Cadillac crest. Or, we could also use door handles from certain models. Didn’t older cars have pull down handles?”

Jordan: “Yes. Another feature from early model cars – at least Fisher Body LogoI know it was true for Cadillac – is the opera lamp. Opera lamps were used originally on horse-drawn carriages. Cadillac brought back opera lamps many years later.”

Guru: “You know we could use automotive lighting – past and present – throughout the building and the parking area. We could actually use headlamp bezels from cars as light fixtures.”

Jordan: “Now you’re thinking like a car guy.’

Guru: “We could also make a mosaic in the front lobby…or maybe outside the elevators on every floor. The mosaic pattern would be a company logo. Hey, I’m liking this.”

Jordan: “One more thing. How would you mix different periods of design? In the early years cars were much like horse carriages. During the 1930’s there was a lot of art deco – Buick had an metallic instrument panel. Can you mix and match decades in the building?

Guru: “Not sure about combining features of early design with the art deco or the modern design on the same floor, for example. But let me think about it.”

Jordan: “We’ve not talked about how to incorporate Motown but I’m sure you will think of something.”

Guru: “Let me work on incorporating automotive stuff first. Then we can talk Motown.”

Jordan: “OK, when will you have ideas to review?”

Guru: “Give me a week or so. I need to get focused.”

Jordan: “Thanks, Guru. See you soon.”

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