Nicole Mater

Nicole Mater

Kansas City, MO, US


Saving Main Street USA

And The Subsequent Disillusionment Regarding the "Rescue" of Small Town America

It comes as no surprise that the era of the American small town is near its close. Though each one has a unique history, many of the towns that began as settlements post-Louisiana Purchase were developed in an act of rote delineation. The Jefferson Grid spread across the western half of the country, claiming areas along newly built transportation routes. Today, those routes are bypassed by modern options. Towns that were once essential to the function of the country are now being drained of every resource and left in dust. As resources and opportunities are drained from small towns, residents vacate and populations dwindle. This negative cycle continues today. 

Studio 808 was asked to develop a solution to slow the rate of decay in these small towns, specifically in the development of a wellness campus dedicated to the revival of the "urban" core of a prototypical case study town. We were asked to think critically about the problem at hand and to come up with a creative solution to save these towns. 

After several failed attempts to implement holistic town revival, we decided instead to defibrillate, knowing full well that one building alone cannot solve the problem of population decay and imminent town death. Only a provocative solution aimed to shock the system can kick-start an initiative with enough force to bring about any real change. 

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Status: School Project
Location: Haxtun, Colorado
My Role: Team Leader
Additional Credits: Hannah Kramer, Rachel Keeven, Phillip Perkins, Liz Nikoomanesh Mikkelson

With Support from HDR Architecture, Inc and The University of Kansas