The citizens of Mount Jackson, Virginia, had a vision for a makeover: to make their town more inviting not only to visitors and tourists, but also to the people who lived there. They wanted to revitalize their downtown and create attractive and community-friendly public spaces. They also knew they needed to upgrade critical town services; the community library and museum were outgrowing their locations, and the town hall was housed in a small converted gas station. From a community forum came the idea to bring all of these services together into a central location that would appeal to citizen and visitor alike.
To help realize this vision of Mount Jackson, Mather Architects developed a plan that offered upgraded, updated services and public spaces, while also building on one of the town’s most valuable assets: its history. The proposed site was in the center of town and had once been home to the Mount Jackson train station, so we created a Visitors Center and Town Hall that recalls the look of a turn-of-the-century train station, yet is thoroughly modern in its open feel and abundant natural light. It houses not only the Town Hall, museum and library but also the police department and town offices, and welcomes visitors with maps, historical information and places to see. Our design also created space for a Town Green adjacent to the Visitors Center, which has since been developed by the Town to include walking paths, a gazebo, and infrastructure for vendors at community festivals.
The result is a beautiful, community-centered facility that has helped Mount Jackson revitalize itself — and that won the 2004 Better Models Award for Best Public Building.