The Design in the Hills 2016 theme was Reclamation. Artist Dale Lamphere helped us kick off the 2016 event with a site visit to the remote site east of Rapid City where he was designing, constructing and assembling the now-famous Dignity sculpture. The sculpture of a Native American woman holding a star quilt is 50 feet high, 16 feet deep and 32 feet wide and has more than 100 blue diamond shapes in the quilt that were originally designed to move in the wind. The sculpture now stands on a hill overlooking the Missouri River off of Interstate 90 near Chamberlain, SD.
Following the site visit to the Dignity Sculpture, the group traveled to Lead to visit the Sanford Lab Visitor Center and the City of Lead. The group heard about the rebranding campaign for the City of Lead and the new Deep Underground Neutrino Project at the Sanford Underground Research Facility. The group was educated on the transformation the city of Lead is undergoing as mining ended in 2004 and the Sanford Lab began its reclamation of the mine in 2007 to be used as an underground research laboratory. Several experiments have taken place, collaborating with other labs across the United States at depths of a mile below the surface. The afternoon was spent walking through the city of Lead, highlighting historic projects and improvements that are underway as part of the city’s rebranding and reclamation of its growing population with the new lab project.
The second day included a presentation by structural engineer, Mike Albertson and Dale Lamphere talking about their collaboration of the Dignity Sculpture. Three-dimensional models were presented showing the loads and forces the sculpture would undergo from maximum wind speeds. The collaboration between the engineering team and the artist provided a renewed perspective of solving an organic modeling challenge.
The design charette concluded the event. The focus of the charette was the design of a new band shell in the park adjacent to the Sanford Lab Visitor Center and open cut mine. Designers attending the event put their heads together to explore an addition to the existing park that capitalized on the spectacular views of the historic Homestake Mine.
The Design in the Hills committee was formed in 2011 by architects, Kris Bjerke and Tanya Davis and interior designer Maggie Job. Over the years, many new faces have trickled through the committee as leadership in the AIA South Dakota organization has evolved, however Kris has been the anchor to an event which has become a much-anticipated gathering of designers in the Black Hills each summer. The current committee includes Ms. Bjerke, architect and AIA SD board members, Jenn Johnson & Brian Johnson and landscape architect, Tanya Olson. AIA South Dakota executive director, Angela Lammers has been a tremendous supporter and advocate to the event success as well.