Small Town Studio: The Eureka Project

Contact: Todd Gabbard, (785) 532-1129,


Small Town Studio is a project initiated by Professor Gabbard of the Department of Architecture. The studio's purpose is for graduate architecture students to engage work with rural communities to provide design services that respond to a community need and meet their learning and research goals. The project began in 2012 and has partnered with six Kansas communities. Most design work completed so far occurred in Eureka. Small Town Studio also worked in Colby and Pittsburg, and hoped to expand to other communities. The project establishes a year-long program for the graduate students. Students research the community and develop a working partnership with the residents. This relationship helps determine which issues to work on while also developing appropriate solutions. Workshops and other events provide opportunities for community feedback and input. This mutual partnership allows the focus to be placed on the community and its needs. Within a year and a half, the Small Town Studio provided a new workspace on Main Street in Eureka for those involved with the Studio. With other projects in the works, such as an art gallery and a new courthouse plaza, the impacts of the Studio are evident. The Studio also affected policy at both town and county levels with benefits for the city. These benefits included increases in recreation and pedestrian transportation. The Studio is also making sure to consider the historical and art districts of the community. These developments established a formal relationship between the Studio and these towns, especially Eureka, allowing for further and greater impacts on the rural communities.

Program Partners:

Kansas State University, Department of Architecture; Huck Boyd Institute for Rural Development; The Eureka Foundation; PKHLS Architecture; Rural Design Mob; Coleman Management

Institutional Impact Area(s):

K-State College of Architecture, Planning, and Design


Kansas rural communities