‘This project made me incredibly excited for the future’

NDSU students get hands on learning opportunities that are meaningful, lasting and help inspire communities to visualize their potential. 

A perfect example is the Vision for Medora project under the direction of Kristi Hanson, adjunct professor of architecture. Students in NDSU’s spring 2021 architectural design course proposed a new and creative version of historic Medora, North Dakota.

Fourth-year students Jared Kaesmeyer, Ashton Barta and Jordan Henry describe the project as something they will remember forever throughout their careers as architects.

“This project made me incredibly excited for the future. The relationships we built with each other, our professor and members of the foundation are something that are truly priceless to me,” Barta said. “That stemmed from uniting over a common goal and believing that anything is possible.”

Students listened to stories about Medora’s history from several people in the town, which helped bring perspective to the students as they started the design process. As students began to envision what the town could be, the class next took a trip to Medora to visualize and discuss the town’s potential.

“While in Medora, we had the chance to go for a morning hike to the butte overlooking the town. As the sun rose over the buttes of the badlands, we talked about all the dreams and visions for Medora; what it is and what it can be in the future,” Kaesmeyer said. “That was one of the best weekends of my entire college career.”

Students were assigned groups called Vibrant Medora, Western Heritage, World Class Outdoors and Legacy of Bully Pulpit. The teams designed new concepts for each sector of town.

“In the Vibrant Medora group, our team looked at the town itself and how to improve the infrastructure and housing downtown,” Henry said. “I will be able to take so much from what I’ve learned from this into my career when looking at master planning and envisioning new ideas.”

The project finale was a full design presentation and hand-delivered, leather-bound book created by the 16 students as a gift to the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

“My time working on this project has made me realize just how important people and their history are in the whole scheme of architecture,” Kaesmeyer said. “The stories we gathered, the things we saw and the people we met, I would have never even dreamed of five months ago. What Medora has shared with us, this level of responsibility and duty, will live on with me as something that I will strive to feel throughout my career as an architect.”

Start your own journey. Begin your NDSU experience today. For more information on our architecture program, visit the NDSU School of Design, Architecture and Art website.