Focal point: a historic railroad museum in Durango, Colorado
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Architecture is a medium through which we can communicate and transfer subconscious entities which create memory and conscious perception. This awareness of the world is a primeval way in which the human mind perceives existence. Through the manipulation of iconic elements extracted from the historic environment, spatial arrangements, and the use of scale, architecture can create a sense of time and place on which the observer can focus. The project will use the study of Phenomenology to create a facility capable of producing this experiential quality. The San Juan Mountain Range stretches across one hundred miles of southwestern Colorado. As the nation's highest altitude mining region, the San Juans proved to be the most provoking and yet intimidating challenge that silver miners would ever face. Within the Hermosa Valley and alongside the Animas River lies Durango, Colorado, a settlement of 14,796 citizens with an annual tourism count of 200,000. The site is immediately west of the train yards, located at the terminus of Main St., where the rail depot has set for over 100 years. It is adjacent to a steep embankment leading to the Animas River and downstream toward the historic smelter. A focal point must be created to draw attention to the historic nature of the expansion of the San Juans. An opportunity now exists in Durango with the success of tourism and its interests in the train and the town's historic role as the infrastructure to northern mining expanse. A museum can now isolate and tell the story of the many towns and lives the Railroad connected through its removal of silver from the mountains. This project is museum comprised of permanent exhibition spaces, indoor car displays, and support for the collection, documentation, and exhibition of material related to the railroad and mining movements of the San Juan region.