Aberdeen, SD (2020)

Aberdeen’s Citizens Building was in dire straits by 2020, some 110 years after it was built. Luckily, our Friends & Citizens interns were up for the job. We’re helping with improvements now.

Friends & Citizens is a summer-long design studio that integrates the academic and professional worlds of architecture for a group of interns. Each summer, CO-OP oversees a handful of students from various disciplines, offering them the tools and guidance required to complete a theoretical design project in addition to some practical daily work. On the theoretical side, the students interact with various entities – including local governments and business owners, design professionals, and the general public – as they design a conceptual solution to a real-world problem in a local community. The students develop their design skills, take part in public policy discussions, learn smart and sustainable land use and urban planning strategies, and most importantly, help build vibrant communities. At the end of the summer, they present their research and design publicly with the hopes of bringing the project to life down the road.

In the summer of 2020, three SDSU design students – Meagan Stenzel, Elsie McGuigan, and Becca Woytassek – worked on a multi-story historic renovation on the 200 block of Main Street in Downtown Aberdeen. The Citizens Building had fallen into a state of disrepair in the years leading up to 2020. Friends & Citizens chose to investigate the feasibility of restoring the building to its previous grandeur through construction documents and financial pro-formas.

We’re now in the thick of the Citizens Building renovation thanks in part to the hard work of the summer interns. What with the alignment of names, it felt fitting that this would be Friends & Citizens’ first build.

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