By Kayla Fuller
As my first blog entry, I felt an introduction of me was necessary for you to understand my interest in architecture and love for historic work. I am a recent graduate of the Southern Illinois University School of Architecture, who decided that it was not yet time to leave beautiful Southern Illinois, so I decided to complete my master’s degree here. The national forests that Carbondale are a great escape from a hectic day or if you are looking for a little inspiration for your design. You learn to appreciate hard work, dedication and sleep, especially sleep after an all-nighter. The professors at Southern Illinois University are personal and extremely supportive, over the past four years I have enjoyed working with them and the relationships that have formed. So why did I decide I wanted to be an Architect when I grew up? What has been my inspiration?
I was born and raised in Quincy, Illinois, a town many have no idea of the location or its history. Quincy is a central hub for the surrounding farm community by providing many forms of transportation as well as a short travel time of two and a half hours to St. Louis or Springfield. It is a town with a rich historical connection to President Lincoln, Mormon travelers, and the Underground Railroad, just to name a few. Growing up in Quincy has allowed me to enjoy its diversity unique history, sparking my interest in historic preservation. Quincy is a city like many others that has begun to experience urban sprawl. While more job opportunities as well as housing became available for the growing population, there were also many issues that begin to arise. The city center no longer attracted visitors due to increased travel from the new neighborhoods and new facilities available closer to home. With the lack of traffic, many of the local businesses began having financial hardships and some historic buildings, from the beginning of Quincy's existence were abandoned.
Some may ask why saving a downtown is so important to me, they say it’s outdated and it costs too much to fix it. Downtown areas and squares created an identity for the town. Without an identity no town can be successful. Originally Quincy was a thriving river town that many passed through. There were hotels and theaters to provide the community and guests with entertainment, as well as restaurants that are still popular today. I believe it is important to reuse buildings and materials if they can be reused. Everything progresses and just because an old apartment complex can no longer provide as originally intended, does not mean that you cannot update the building for new use rather than replacing. Creative problem solving is how we are taught to design but many do not design that way. My goal is to design functionally as well as creatively, as do most hope to achieve. As I progress with research and development of my thesis I hope to narrow down my ideas to create an area that invites the community to explore their city rather than lock themselves in their homes. I hope you enjoyed my first piece; it was definitely an enjoyable experience.