By: Hunter Wilson
The creative arts incubator for SIU is the project for which I am creating a thesis design. Some considerations were viewed when determining a specific site in Carbondale for the incubator.
To the north of SIU’s campus is Carbondale’s Arbor District. This district is inhabited by both students and local families. The area can be considered when determining the location of the creative arts district. It holds adjacency to SIU’s main campus to the south, and Carbondale’s downtown (The Strip) to the east. It already has set boundaries that accommodate an area large enough to house a creative arts district. The location is directly across the street from SIU’s main campus. The Arbor District is a part of the national historic registry which provides the area something to market. Though the area has a few positives, it may not be the best location. Relocating student housing is not as difficult as uprooting single family homes. The Arbor District contains many single family homes. This is an issue that is best left alone.
Another option for the location of the creative arts district is just to the east of The Strip on the opposite side of the train tracks. There is adequate space to allow for such a district. This area would keep the proximity between the district and The Strip to a minimum. The main issue with this location is noise and vibrations. With delicate activities such as audio recording and sculpting, the noise and vibrations would not be ideal. Along with interrupting these activities is the fact that the noise from the train tracks could easily disrupt live performances or outdoor congregation areas. Providing sound dampening between the tracks and the district would only serve as an extra obstacle and increase cost that would be unnecessary with a more proper site location.
After searching for a site that can accommodate a close proximity to SIU’s main campus as well as The Strip, the site located at the corner of W Mill Street and S Illinois Ave proved to be sufficient. The site contains roughly 130,000 square feet of space with the possibility of relocating the Wesleyan Foundation located on the southeast of the site. This adequate site also happens to be located within the confines of university property. Having the site located on campus would mean that the district would need to directly influence the university in a major way.