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Oregon Trail Welcome Center

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Student name: 
Clare Jacob
Bachelor 3
Karen Lewis
ARCH 3420: Architectural Design IV
Autumn 2015

The goal of this project was to essentially redesign the Oregon Trail welcome center in addition to creating our own Oregon Trail experience.  Along the Oregon Trail there is a diversity of landscapes however, there is one in particular that everyone imagines when discussing the Oregon Trail, the prairies.  The vast nothingness of the prairies is where I decided to place my building.  The project branches off the Oregon Trail separating itself from the North Platte River just South of Oshkosh, Nebraska.  It spans about two thousand feet in length with four major buildings along its path, surrounded by a chaotic system of walls.  The walls and the bar like buildings are representative of the harsh landscape that is the prairie.  The location I decided to break ground is directly adjacent to tornado alley and my structures draw comparisons to their long, harsh linear paths.  Although the Oregon Trail seemed safe to the travelers who set out during the 19th century, they did experience helpless and dangerous times.  The walls of my design help hide the buildings along the trail and create an anxious, impeding experience between the walls similar to the travelers navigating between the monuments leading them to Oregon.  The programmatic order of my buildings are from right to left: a welcome center, library, horse stables and restaurant.  While horseback riding, the visitors of my project will be prompted to explore the broken prairie landscape and discover the memorial gravestones, exhibition spaces and meeker markers.  The project is designed for visitors to realize the brutality of the Oregon Trail although it might not always be clearly visible.          

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