Architectural vision begins taking shape

NDSU students to re-imagine downtown Minot

JillSchramm/MDN North Dakota State University architectural students gather at The Depot Monday for a media briefing following a downtown tour and meetings with community stakeholders.

Sixteen architectural students from North Dakota State University in Fargo spent two days scouting downtown Minot and meeting with community stakeholders as they began re-imagining the heart of the city.

Kevin Black, a downtown business and property owner and member of the State Board of Higher Education, spearheaded the community’s invitation to the students after seeing the master plan that previous NDSU architectural students completed for Medora.

“It was a phenomenal work product, and we can’t wait to see what you bring to our community,” he told students Monday at a media briefing announcing the project.

Architectural student Sofia Naranjo Mata said she and her classmates will bring a fresh set of eyes to the downtown.

“We’re so excited we have this great opportunity. I can say that not many architecture students have the opportunity to work on a project that will impact real people, and it’s very exciting to be able to work with people who are so passionate about something,” she said. “We’re excited to equal the passion.”

Despite the frigid temperatures, students walked the streets of downtown to see the various landmarks. They visited with representatives of Minot Area Council of the Arts, Minot Park District, City of Minot, Minot State University, Minot Area Chamber EDC, business leaders and others.

“We saw a lot of hope,” said Kristi Hanson, NDSU adjunct professor of architecture. “We saw a lot of passion, and I think it has inspired all of us to do something amazing.”

She said students will be doing more research and analysis as they prepare to get into the creative process once they return to Fargo. She said architects seek to solve problems.

“When we solve problems with architecture, it’s not only a building or a place, but it speaks to who we want to be as a community and how we see ourselves,” Hanson said. “The question we hope to answer for you in this process is, ‘Who does Minot want to be? Who does downtown Minot want to be? What we collectively saw, I think, were opportunities.”

The students’ work over the next three months will culminate in a presentation on May 3 at 1:30 p.m. in the Swiontek Center at Gate City Bank.

“The beauty of what this project does is it gives people ideas that they probably wouldn’t have otherwise thought of,” Hanson said. She said the master plan produced for Medora has led to that community moving forward on four of the students’ five proposed projects.

Minot Mayor Tom Ross said the students’ efforts will help further downtown Minot’s growth and optimism.

“Your work is going to have an impact on the CIty of Minot for years to come,” he told students. “That’s what excites me, and that’s what excites the City of Minot.”

All participating students are in their fourth year of a five-year architecture program at NDSU.

“I’ve been totally impressed with how quickly they have picked up on, I think, what makes Minot special,” Black said. “At the end of the day, we all want the same things. We want Minot to be a place that we are proud of, and that we can, hopefully, keep our own children or grandchildren here – to be a place where they want to work, live and play.”


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