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.
As class moves along, it is getting closer to narrowing down what route we want to take with our master’s thesis. My initial thoughts about the thesis have changed dramatically. Over this past summer we were encouraged to begin thinking about what we would like to study. I began by thinking about designing a ski lodge. I am highly interested in the timber construction and believe that it would be interesting to study the process behind how a ski lodge is operated. After pondering on this idea, I realized that I have zero experience with skiing and have never even visited a ski lodge. So, though I have interest in the ideas and aesthetics involved with ski lodges, it may just make my thesis that much harder to research knowing that I have no experience with that subject.
After this thought I turned to something with which I was more familiar. I decided to design a recording studio. My interest in music and audio recording led me to this conclusion. A recording studio can be cumbersome and meticulous to design, though one recording studio doesn’t constitute an entire thesis project. So I came to the conclusion to design a recording studio within a creative arts district. This will allow me to focus architecturally on a recording studio as well as urban design.
A creative arts district is a place where artists, musicians, etc. can live, work and create. These districts help revitalize an area and creates livelihood within a community. I decided to use Carbondale as my site. Carbondale is a great community that includes a growing art community. The downside is that there isn’t really a location in town for artists to collaborate and gather. This would help local artists in that way. SIU also has a large collection of arts programs that house many students. The issue is that there really isn’t any way for students to collaborate and create outside of the university. This district will give SIU art students a location to create, artistically, away from the academic setting. This district will also be able to house current SIU students and provide student jobs. For this to work there must be a strong collaboration with the university and the district. That will be a main design issue moving forward with this thesis. Another major design issue will be trying to mesh the local artists with student artists. These will be major research topics moving forward.
This thesis design will surely change by the time it is all said and done, but I am certain this is the general route I want to take. I am interested in tackling the design issues of the recording studio as well as the social issues involved with creating a city district.