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11 Jul 2012
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From "Striking the Epicenter in Rural America":

Every piece of architecture should express some moral. If it has moral merit, it deserves the title of ‘architecture.’ For me, the professional challenge, whether I am an architect in the rural American South or the American West, is how to avoid becoming so stunned by the power of modern technology and economic affluence that I lose focus on the fact that people and place matter…. Everyone’s too busy trying to make a living. We have to be more than a house pet to the rich; we need to get out of that role. – Samuel Mockbee, quoted on the Epicenter site

Epicenter is a group comprised of members with training across the arts and humanities, and who, for the last two years, have lived in the small town of Green River, Utah, (population 953) located "at the trifecta of the Green River, Interstate 70, and the railroad." Many of the Epicenter staff were influenced by The Rural Studio and the vision of Samuel Mockbee, and their early work in Green River already demonstrates this sensitivity to rural place and local culture Mr. Mockbee found so lacking in the field of architecture.

A visit to their dense and visually-striking site will reveal the extent of their current and future projects. What’s particularly exciting about the work of Epicenter is how its serious aesthetic focus is integrated within a respect for local place, and also how these folks are considering art and architecture as engines for local economic growth. 

From Epicenter's own detailed introduction:

“The Epicenter is a community-based housing and business resource center, instigating economic progress and creating decent shelter in the town of Green River in the desert of southeast Utah. It is a part of a larger umbrella non-profit organization, which serves the town with a myriad of unduplicated social services including affordable rental housing, a Boys & Girls Club, a soup kitchen, and a thrift store. Epicenter is a comprehensive creative studio. We are young, enthusiastic designers.

Art Climate Change Community Culture Education Environment History Innovation Justice Recovery Rural/Regional Social Enterprise Design Utah West
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