Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Doubling Downtown

What would it mean to St. Louis in the developable sites in the core of downtown doubled, if downtown formed a frame around the Arch grounds, and if connections throughout downtown and with the riverfront were substantially improved? What would change like that look like?


Alex Ihnen said...

The Arch grounds could be our Millenium Park.

Anonymous said...

There would be more sidewalk cafes with views of the Arch, more two way streets, and more pedestrian activity throughout downtown.

Anonymous said...

More buildings and fewer vacant lots? Higher land values?

Adam said...

What would have to happen for that to occur?

Anonymous said...

Sounds nice...pass the pipe so I can share that dream.

GMichaud said...

I agree wrapping the city around the arch and even onto the arch grounds is the only really successful urban solution.
There is certainly room to run a road on both the north and south sides of the park down to Sullivan blvd (Wharf Street) and if a connecting road is run in the west between those two streets then the Old Cathedral could become part of the city again.
The implications for the Arch grounds are enormous, it will mean more activity in the remaining park area.
Although streets with scaled buildings on both sides of the street could be leased for income to the government to pay their expenses (Is is possible to create a self sufficient arch monument? It should be.)
An architectural competition that is limited and prevents consideration of the use of Arch grounds would be a mistake.
I don't think you can really make a successful connection if the arch grounds are untouched.
The original downtown was on high ground, the new city slopes away.

Physically the city should be interconnected on the high ground.

GMichaud said...

Another thought, Elliel Saarinen, the father of Eero was an excellent city planner. His central train station in Helsinki is perfectin scale and connection. You can go anywhere in the world and in the country from that one train station. It also relates well with the surrounding commercial district, a very walkable area also.

I would think Eero, especially with this experience with airports in New York and Washington would have the same sense of connectivity.
Is there anywhere to find his original plans and his discussions about the arch grounds? I find it hard to believe he thought what is the physical reality of St. Louis today to be the correct solution. What was his solution?

GMichaud said...

Perhaps this is a better question for Micheal Allen at Landmarks?

Rick Bonasch said...

A lot of this information was provided at the Wash U event held re. Saarinen's career.

GMichaud said...

I have trouble attending events. I am raising a 11 year daughter on my own. Her mother was Finnish (she passed with cancer a few years back)
My daughter is going to Finland this summer to visit her grandparents, such fun. The Finns as a whole are very designed orientated. The country is a little bigger than Missouri about the same population.
Anyway I was just trying to do some research. I find it hard to believe Saarinen would have missed the isolation.
I was driving by the arch with a gentlemen I didn't know well the end of last week and he started lamenting about the vacant riverfront. (It is dead)
The failure of the existing plan is evident and outrageous. A major national sculptural object and monument cannot attract enough visitors to maintain a viable riverfront.
I wish adding a new Memorial Drive would correct the problem. While it would help tremendously I also feel like the planning failures are more comprehensive.