2017 Design in the Hills – Rapid City


The Design in the Hills 2017 theme was Adaptations. The committee set out to find exciting projects and planning efforts in the Rapid City community that were examples of architectural adaptations. The first day started with a morning outing on the infamous ‘Da Bus’ and ended with a walking tour through the East of 5th street corridor of downtown Rapid City. The first stop on ‘Da Bus’ was at the Bridger Steel plant in Blackhawk. The tour was enlightening to the attendees as they learned about the process of manufacturing metal panels.

Following the plant tour, ‘Da Bus’ brought the group to the adaptive reuse of the former Landstrom’s Gold manufacturing facility that was under construction. The 1928 Landstrom Building original use was a power plant & more recently used by Landstrom’s Black Hills Gold manufacturing. The renovation brought life to a building that has been out of use for 5 years, providing a new multi-functional space.

‘Da Bus’ continued the journey to the historic 1908 Garfield School in North Rapid City. The original school was in the process of being redeveloped into a multi-family housing building with 12 unique apartments. Each space reveals historic features of the existing building.

Following the morning tours, there were two presentations at the Dahl Arts Center. Sarah Hanzel, planner with Rapid City Community Planning & Development Services, gave a presentation on the downtown master plan and overlay with the redevelopment of the East of 5th Street corridor.

Gary Olson, CEO Center for Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Duluth, MN presented on several successful supportive housing projects in MN for homeless people struggling with addiction. Supportive Housing is a community-based harm reduction model developed to bring housing and supportive services under one roof to help overcome the causes of persistent homelessness, particularly chronically homeless and chemically dependent people.  Services provided for this population include advocacy, mental health treatment, and alcohol dependency recovery for low income and/or homeless individuals. The film “No Losers” chronicles the Duluth, MN location. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETGd2EP4z70

Following the presentations, the group set out for a walking tour of additional adaptive reuse projects in the downtown and East of 5th corridor. The group toured the Hay Camp Brewing Company Building (original 1948 Oldsmobile/Cadillac dealership). They went on to tour the Trinity Lutheran Prayer Park, the Garage collaborative work space (original 1929 Motor Service Building) & the Dean Building (original 1929 McDonald Chevrolet dealership). Each project toured had a parallel theme – adaptive, functional use for an existing space which tells a story through expressive design, celebrating rich history through exposed structure, materials and existing details. Each project was presented by the local architects and project owners, sharing the history and how each project stepped into a renewed future of its own.

The second day commenced with a final presentation by Gary Olson. His presentation focused on the built environment becoming supportive housing. The topic was applicable to the community of Rapid City as a similar model was underway in the East of 5th corridor of Rapid City. The design charette that followed Olson’s presentation explored the supportive housing plan and how it could tie together the downtown Rapid City masterplan and supportive housing model. This challenged designers to explore the opportunities of existing infrastructure within the downtown corridor which could assist in addressing the needs of this highly vulnerable population.

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