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Due to accelerating urbanization, people are moving from rural areas to urban areas for jobs, a better standard of living, better facilities, and many other factors. Small towns have their own identity and people in small towns have their way of living. The power of togetherness is holding these small towns and still giving them hope everything will be fine. The building selected for adaptive reuse is a 100-year-old structure in a small town of St. Francis, Kansas. I spent a good amount of time in St. Francis which helped me to understand life in rural America. After interacting with the locals and my friends I realized that the town is in desperate need of something which would give the younger generation hope to stay in the community.
Known to some as the Danielson Building, to others as Faulkender’s, the historic building on the main street captures the imagination for the community of St. Francis. The building was used as a hardware shop in the late 1920s and later was used as a toy shop. After 1998 the owner used this space as a workshop and storage. This building also has a small gallery present on the rear side and the basement which has a storage space the same as the first floor. On the west, the building consists of a garage as well.
The idea was to keep the historical identity of the building and give it a new life from inside. Three spaces that would help the community to be self-sustained, provide more jobs, and become a landmark were a larger art gallery, a community event space, and a community kitchen.
Art Gallery - The old art gallery is placed on the rear end of this building. With space constraints, it can hardly fit a decent crowd. It needs a makeover so that it can become a center of art in the community and helps local artists to sell their artwork. In the new proposal, the art gallery is placed in the front, facing the main street, which would help it to visually connect with people on the main street. A reception and souvenir counter is also accommodated inside the space.
Event space - The workshop will be transformed into an event space. This will be a flexible space and can be rented depending on the crowd.
Community Kitchen - The local ladies make pickles, jam, and other items for sale in farmers' markets, but they lack commercial equipment and dedicated space. The community can use this commercial kitchen to prepare items and sell it to a wider population. This kitchen can also be rented along with the event space which will be very helpful for someone who wants to celebrate an occasion with some delicious food.
Locally available materials with minimum craftsmanship requirements have been proposed for adaptive use. The unused vacant plot has been transformed into an outdoor green space that would work as a social space for the community.
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