Pioneer Craft House is a community arts center in the heart of South Salt Lake – a project that has come together under the conjoined efforts of the City of South Salt Lake, CRSA, Community Studio, ZAP Funding and Io Landscape Architecture. Together, we have provided an outward expression of vitality that honors both the history and the future opportunities for the Pioneer Craft House site. By providing universal accessibility, improving usage and overall safety, we have created a space that is truly a cultural oasis for artisans and county residents alike.
This historic site began with the construction of Scott School in 1890, later expanded, and other buildings were built across the site through 1950, adding an eclectic feel to the campus. The property was saved from demolition by a group of dedicated citizens in 1947, who formed the Pioneer Craft House to provide stewardship over the property while also providing a cultural refuge for artists and craftspeople to learn both heritage and modern craft methods.
The 1.68 acre campus was acquired in 2004 by the City of South Salt Lake. Due to the age of the buildings and site, the immediate goal of the City was to preserve the integrity of the historic structures while also providing increased safety and accessibility to the general public. Simultaneously, the goal was to improve usage and revamp the community’s excitement for local heritage. In 2010, Community Studio and Io Design Collaborative began work on a Facilities Master Plan for the City of South Salt Lake utilizing the assessment and programming provided by CRSA in 2009.
In an effort to address the immediate need for safety and accessibility upgrades to the facility, the City applied for funding from Salt Lake County’s Zoos, Arts, and Parks (ZAP) program whose mission is to enhance Salt Lake County resident and visitor experiences through cultural and recreational offerings and to provide ongoing economic development opportunities.
In 2012, Io Landscape Architecture completed a Master Landscape Plan for the site. A major concern was to provide universal access to each building as well as unify the various elements and architectural styles which had overtaken the site. Io incorporated ideas from the previous programming exercises from CRSA along with City and user commentary to create a landscape master plan which would not only provide the necessary features but would also exhibit an outward expression of vitality and those ideals which form the basis of Pioneer Craft House: honoring the history and heritage of this place, offering the community a cultural resource and providing education in both modern and historic practices.
The master plan, which will be implemented in a series of phases, creates defined entrance points, a circulation hierarchy, and a unified theme throughout the site. The transformed west side features a large lawn and future pergola space which can house large group gatherings.