By Hunter Wilson
I am Hunter Wilson, a student currently studying in the Southern Illinois University Masters of Architecture program. I began my education at Vincennes University located in my hometown of Vincennes, Indiana. After receiving an Associate’s Degree in Architectural studies, I transferred to SIU where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree and still study today.
Recently, the ARC 551 course took a trip to visit Baltimore, MD. This is the location of our current design project so we were able to physically roam and explore our respective sites. The site I am currently working with is a rural site located roughly 30 minutes away from Baltimore in a suburb called Glenelg.
We began our journey to the site by exiting the dense and urban areas of Baltimore only for it to transform into a grassy, countryside landscape with a winding two lane highway which was a sharp contrast to the crowded interstate. Driving along, the landscape looked evermore like the photographs I had seen of a typical east coast countryside. Farm land and upscale, colonial style homes populated the landscape. This was no surprise to see such nice homes after learning of Glenelg’s median household income of $114,000 per year. The air flowing through the vehicle was a nice change of pace as opposed to the typical sights and scents of dense, urban Baltimore.
We arrive at the site to see that it is mainly inhabited by a two-story home, some barns full of farm equipment, and sheep. The sheep dog on duty gave us a warm welcome of stiff barking. We travel up a long thin road by foot to explore the site. It is largely hilly and grassy with a forest to the west and open fields to the right. Some students begin photographing the site of their future development while some students continue on the path to explore. As we travel along, we are greeted by a man in a vehicle driving towards us. He lives at the end of the thin path and encourages us to explore around his home even though it is not a part of our site. The group continues toward his home only to find it be a miraculous design. Later he let us know that a student of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture designed his home. This was no surprise to us knowing the style fit perfectly into the landscape and contained a “Wrightian” aesthetic.
Unfortunately, a lot of the rural site was blocked off by fencing and contained tall grass that would have been difficult to navigate through. So the group was only able to explore the site from certain vantage points. On the other hand, we live in the 21st century and have Google Maps at our disposal. So all is fine with the world and we will continue to develop the site throughout the semester.