Posted by: hick0188 | January 25, 2012

shifting gears…

Since last time, I was able to meet with Mark Larson, the Superintendent of the Mahtomedi School District and Mark Hamre, the Principal of Wildwood Elementary.  They were great to meet with me and listen to my proposal.  I must add, this was the first time I was sent to the principal’s office, ever!  The Marks and I had a great conversation about what exactly I will be doing.  There was good clarification with regard to my intent and their expectations as well.  I made it clear that what I am pursuing is primarily an academic exercise, although grounded in a real problem.  The hope would be that what I work on and produce on my end could become real solutions or if nothing else, open the door for further conversations to happen as to what the site could become.  I described my initial ideas about program, mentioning my lack of desire to create housing on this site.  For all intents, the community has it in mind to put housing on this site, particularly multi-unit buildings with varying densities.  Although I am not exactly interested in this program (and am currently biased against it) the concept directly contradicts my hopes of reusing the building on the site.  To create housing as is being considered, razing the entire site is necessary.

This leads me to my discussion today with Dave.  I have been semi-adamant about not doing housing, which is essentially because I think it might be a little too boring for my liking.  If this is my ‘thesis,’ I’d rather the project be a little more exciting and more in the realm of what I had in mind.  With that being said, I think it is clear to consider my site and community first before simply writing off the housing prospect.  This is what Dave said today as well, basically to continue to do some of this site and community research to truly understand what is best for the site.  (this is where ‘shifting gears’ comes in, I guess it’s not a very good title if I have to describe it)  I think this is a good idea, there are a lot of areas I want to explore yet and I’m hoping after doing this,

I will have a clearer sense of what my program should be, not just what I want it to be! 

Additionally, we talked about re-framing the problem, this can help to understand the real issues facing the community and lead to the correct and most appropriate solution.  I brought up my strong desire to consider the local landscape design and was encouraged to seek out some faculty in the Landscape Architecture department for advice.  One proposal by the community included turning this site completely into a park.  This idea is interesting to me and look forward to hearing what some of the LA faculty might say about this concept.

I’m close to getting drawings from the main Supervisor of Buildings & Grounds, I spoke with him today and I believe I may have access to a digital set.  He told me that there have been several (5+) additions or work done on the building.  I’m interested in seeing how this building actually developed.  There are a couple of clear additions in my mind, but not to the point that I would have guessed 5 or more sets of drawings.  Hopefully by tomorrow-late morning I’ll have the drawings!


I just realized that I haven’t posted any images of the school yet, so here’s an aerial view of the site.



  1. Loved the first visit to principal office comment!!!

    This is such a great life experience ~ doing what is necessary but not necessarily what you would choose.

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