Monday, November 30, 2009

NPS clears way for 2010 Arch design competition

NPS Press Release regarding selection of Preferred Alternative - Program Expansion for JNEM General Management Plan (click to read the document):

In this article in the Post Dispatch last Friday, NPS official Frank Mares describes the timeline for the design competition.

One of the questions to be decided is the scope of the design competition. What should the boundary of the competition area be?


GMichaud said...

The planning surrounding the arch is so poor that a proper arch plan cannot be made until some understanding of how the rest of downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods will function with whatever happens at the arch.
The arch grounds could lead the way, but that is backwards.
Look at the new sculpture garden in the mall, while attractive in its own right, it has no context to the larger city.
Even being in the Gateway Mall does little to enhance its connectivity, because the Gateway Mall is itself partly, if not wholly disconnected from the rest of downtown.
The general area does not function like full bore cities should function, feeding connected attractions, pulling visitors and residents from one destination to the next.
Thus the difficulty the arch plan will have in anticipating future patterns of city development, assuming of course anyone ever figures out how to overcome decades of failed policies and decisions.
The boundaries in an ideal world should be broad to help answer questions of continuity.
Certainly the Gateway Mall and surroundings should be in play.

Nor should the Park Service deny attempts to include potential redevelopment of the arch park grounds. To do so misses the point and potential of an architectural competition.

Ideas generated by the competition do not mean you are required to do anything, I would hate to think the Park Service is afraid of ideas.
The lack of alternate thinking is why St. Louis is in the condition it is in. Certainly too many ideas have never been the problem. Usually it is like the current Paul McKee proposal for the Northside, basically no planning ideas. They are regulated to the back of the room as unimportant.

A progressive planning policy in fact would direct McKee's efforts to support the efforts at the arch grounds. So in fact if not boundaries, but at least some consideration should be extended to surrounding neighborhoods, for transportation planning especially, but also for attractive architectural connectivity also.

I'm not holding my breathe though.

Anonymous said...

Don't hold your breath for proof that the Lou is rising. The design competition is small potatoes compared to the fallout from becoming a China hub. Can't wait for the new truck-only lanes for I70. Smell those yummy fumes.