Thursday, January 28, 2010

Urban Mining

There was a time when mining was common practice in St. Louis. Mostly, mining was done for clay to make bricks. And back then, people probably didn't think of it as "urban mining". In those days, there wasn't much if any focus on the difference between "urban" and "suburban". Pretty much everybody lived in the City. Or on a farm.

If anything, the difference was between "urban" or "rural". The suburbs really hadn't been born yet. That would come later, with the introduction of the interstate highway system, the GI bill, and baby boomers looking to move to new housing. The suburbs were appealing. Mid-century neighborhoods, places like "Dellwood" and "Crestwood", were popping up.

In the new suburbs, home buyers were finding modern conveniences like attached garages or carports, driveways, built-in appliances, non-maintenance aluminum windows, and energy efficient, eight-foot ceiling heights. People were moving out of the old neighborhoods.

They were getting away from older houses, faux drop ceilings, detached garages, ongoing window maintenance and tuckpointing, and sometimes things they didn't want for neighbors anymore, such as nearby factories. And when they left, they left behind empty houses. Or perhaps, they'd rent them out.

Over time, some of the old houses began to deteriorate. Maintenance budgets weren't keeping up with the needs of an aging home. And so deterioration might lead to vacancy, abandonment, and foreclosure (often for unpaid property taxes). The very end of the line for an old, unwanted house, would be demolition. St. Louis has seen lots of demolitions of vacant, abandoned houses. Thousands of them in fact. Thousands and thousands. Those demolition have left a legacy, buried under 12-18inches of non-engineered fill: the remains of beuatiful, historic homes.

Without much time or effort at all, some heavy equipment, and a collection of historic maps, there's a cottage industry waiting to be capitalized in St. Louis: mining the remnants of these demolished houses. When they tore the old places down, they pretty much just pushed everything into the basement. Buried in the walls of those basements are treasure troves of architectural artifacts of decades worth of solid St. Louis construction.

While young families were happily moving to those mid-century, modern neighborhoods, a couple of guys and bulldozer were uncermoniously imploding the historic architecture of St. Louis into the basements of once proud homes. They were probably talking about the St. Louis Cardinals or the hapless Browns, maybe the disappearance of the street car lines, and as they were doing so, with a cigarette hanging from their lips, they'd push the accellerator on the bulldozer, and knock down another wall or staircase. When they were through, you'd never know a house was there. They'd buried the whole thing in the ground; the remains left undisturbed for decades to come under a vacant lot.

Today, those remains await to be brought back to the surface. They might be salvaged as part of a redevelopment effort, but why not expedite the process by mining the valuable artifacts at these sites? Old bottles, marble, brick, slabs of solid granite, old brass fixtures, slate, tile, terra cotta, the sorts of things vandals and scappers might tear off of someone's property and try to sell in antique stores or salvage yards, are just waiting for some enterprising entreprenuer to bring back to the surface and salvage in a respectable enterprise.

While many see the vacant lots and years of demolitions as a scar on the St. Louis landscape, today, those remains also present an opportunity. After mining the sites for the valuable artifacts underground, the land could then be put to a productive use such as urban farming, solar installations, parks or open space, or new home or business development.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Urban St. Louis Forum Goes High Speed

One of St. Louis' best issues forum is now also one of her fastest. Urban St. Louis has always been filled with interesting discussions and information, but the site was so painfully slow that it was almost impossible to access.

Those problems have now been solved, with all the interesting discussions continuing at the site. STL Rising will permalink Urban St. Louis on our links section. In the meantime, we recommend you start your reading here...

Neighborhood Association Promotes Architectural Guidelines

With the help of an architectural student, the City of St. Louis, and a local urban planner, the Southwest Garden Neighborhood Association has established a set of recommended architectural guidelines to foster new development and existing building renovations, "The Southwest Garden Neighborhood Association's Suggested Architectural Guidelines for Exterior Facades".

Washington University architecture graudate Christopher Rehwoldt, St. Louis urban planner and SLU graduate Steve Patterson, and the City of St. Louis Planning and Urban Design Agency collaborated on the design project. Use of the guidelines is not mandatory but is intended to aid in the development of residential properties that are both aethestically pleasing and economically viable.

Strong and clear community design standards are an important resource for maintaining and improving the quality of our neighborhoods. Congratulations to all involved in taking this step toward guiding future community improvement efforts in the Southwest Garden neighborhood. It will be interesting to see if other neighborhoods follow similar efforts.

For additional information about the Southwest Garden neighborhood, visit the neighborhood's website or contact its executive director, Dana Gray, telephone (314) 772-6082.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reality Programming - Arch Design Competiton Q and A

Organizers of the Arch design competition have recevied lots of questions from Stage One participants in the process. Here are highlights from the questions and answers received to date:

Q67: What role will the Casino play in the project?
January 19, 2010 – 2:28 pm

A67: Design and operational parameters of this specificity will be discussed with the Stage III participants at the Stage III Briefing.

Q66: Will river front access be provided within the project boundary along the eastern shore from the Eads Bridge to the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park? (It looks like this portion might be privately owned by the Casino.)
January 19, 2010 – 2:28 pm

A66: Design and operational parameters of this specificity will be discussed with the Stage III participants at the Stage III Briefing.

Q65: Are ridership volume statistics available for the Arch Lacledes Metrolink Station (just north of the site under the Eads Bridge)?
January 19, 2010 – 2:28 pm

A65: Necessary data will be provided to the Stage III participants at the Stage III Briefing.

Q64: Are the existing Rail Yards and Barge Docks along the eastern shore north of the Poplar Street Bridge to remain in operation within the park boundary?
January 19, 2010 – 2:27 pm

A64: Design and operational parameters of this specificity will be discussed with the Stage III participants at the Stage III Briefing.

Q63: Are there statistics available on existing vehicular traffic flows for the Eads Bridge?
January 19, 2010 – 2:27 pm

A63: Necessary data will be provided to the Stage III participants at the Stage III Briefing.

Q62: Is the Poplar Street Bridge Structure included within the limit of the project? (as opposed to simply representing the project boundary with no opportunities to annex or co-opt the structures programmatically).
January 19, 2010 – 2:27 pm

A62: Design parameters of this specificity will be discussed with the Stage III participants at the Stage III Briefing. Also refer to Q/A #57.

Q61: Is the Eads Bridge Structure included within the limit of the project?
January 19, 2010 – 2:27 pm

A61: See Q/A #57.

Q60: Will there be “Air Rights” opportunities over the I-70 Expressway between the Market and Chestnut overpasses? Between Walnut and Pine?
January 19, 2010 – 2:27 pm

A60: Design parameters of this specificity will be discussed with the Stage III participants at the Stage III Briefing.

Q59: Is the option of highway removal, especially the vacation of the depressed lanes, combined with some restoration the city’s original street grid to connect with the Arch grounds, a possibility for consideration in the design competition?
January 19, 2010 – 2:27 pm

A59: Design parameters of this specificity will be discussed with the Stage III participants at the Stage III Briefing.

Q57: On page 9 the Manual outlines a broad set of design goals that serve as the Competition Program for a “complex urban situation.” Those 10 goals clearly will require reaching beyond the geographic area outlined on the companion map on page 8. Can we therefore assume that the competition and the work that follows with a winning scheme can venture beyond those site boundaries? Who owns the land in the area outlined on the map on page 8? Can an entry, in its design effort in stage three, suggest urban design or other improvements outside of the area designated as the Competition Site?
January 19, 2010 – 2:26 pm

A57: The land is currently held by a number of public and private owners. The boundaries of the project are shown in the Competition Manual and impact areas will be identified for Stage III of the Competition.

Q55: There is reference in item 4.4 on page 22 that “competition results will be used to solicit and allocate capital improvement funds, and construction may be phased as funds become available.” Has there been any determination of what level of funding might be required for the project, or what level of funding might be available from different sources? If so, what are these sources?
January 18, 2010 – 5:55 pm

A55: Funding is ongoing and is from a number of different federal, state, and local sources. Competitors will be apprised of the status of fundraising at the Stage III Briefing. See also Q/A #12.

Q48: Is this competition is open to other countries, and what is the procedure to attend the meeting, and individual professionals like designer, architect…etc are eligible?
January 18, 2010 – 5:50 pm

A48: Yes, refer to the Competition Regulations on page 17 of the Competition Manual for eligibility requirements. See also Q/A #6.

Q43: Will you be sharing the sign-in list [from the Pre-submittal Meeting] with attendees or on the website?
January 18, 2010 – 5:44 pm

A43: Yes, it will be posted to the Competition website.

Q42: Is identifying one or more artists to be on our team required for meeting the criteria of Phase 1, or can we postpone this decision until Phase 2.
January 18, 2010 – 5:44 pm

A42: The team must be composed as described in the Competition Manual. See also Q/A #18.

Q12: Have a budget and funding sources been identified for the project?
January 18, 2010 – 5:05 pm

A12: The complexity of the project is such that the competition seeks design solutions based on goals rather than a pre-defined program and so it is not possible to determine a budget at this time. A large consideration for budget purposes should be the goal to complete the project by October 2015. Fundraising has already begun.

Q4: How might I link up with a designer for this competition?
December 22, 2009 – 11:00 am

A4: A networking session will be held in St. Louis in the beginning of Stage II for the short-listed design firms to meet and explore potential teaming opportunities with other individuals and firms. The Competition Manager cannot provide recommendations or assistance in teaming.

A2: The Teams that are invited to participate in Stage III of this competition will receive an honorarium of $100,000. There is no compensation for Stage I and Stage II participants. Refer to page 17 of the Competition Manual.

Q1: What is the registration cost?
December 21, 2009 – 12:58 pm

A1: There is no fee for registration.

For the full list of questions and answers, visit the Arch Competition website link here: Design Competition Q and A

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Extreme Makeover - Riverfront Edition"


St. Louis, Missouri

"Extreme Makeover - Riverfront Edition", a new reality show based in St. Louis, Missouri, begins production this month for airing in the spring of 2010. "Extreme Makeover - Riverfront Edition" will showcase the efforts of the National Park Service and the City of St. Louis to revitalize the historic Mississippi Riverfront, the Gateway Arch, and downtown St. Louis. "Extreme Makeover - Riverfront Edition" creates a rare opportunity for the public from across the country to participate in this exciting project.

In 1965, the final section of Eero Saarinen's masterpiece, the Gateway Arch, was installed, creating a landmark commemorating the westward expansion of the United States. Saarinen, a relative unknown at the time, made his mark on St. Louis and the international scene with his modernist Arch design masterprice. Saarinen was the unlikely winner of an international design competition held to create a landmark monument for the St. Louis riverfront.

Nearly fifty years later, "Extreme Makeover - Riverfront Edition" aims to renew that world-wide excitement by bringing forward the best possible ideas for reconnecting the historic St. Louis riverfront, the Arch, and downtown St. Louis. In an era where sustainable communities, valuing diversity, and a return to cities is becoming an increasingly popular lifestyle of choice, "Extreme Makeover - Riverfront Edition" will give viewers the opportunity to experience the process of community renewal first hand, while also maximizing public participation in the process.

A variety of interested governmental, non-profit, commercial and neighborhood groups are working together to remake the historic riverfront and Arch grounds. These efforts are being led by a collaboration of St. Louis and national leaders focused on a dramatic, transformative effort for the Arch, riverfront, and downtown St. Louis. "Extreme Makeover - Riverfront Edition" will add major public relations and community participation dimensions to the process. Each week, show producers will highlight participants in the project and viewers will be able to text their votes for the teams and design ideas they like the best.

While focusing on the Arch design competition, "Extreme Makeover - Riverfront Edition" will also profile the St.Louis community, a city famous for its historic riverfront, jazz and blues music, great restaurant scene, and strong neighborhood traditions.

DISCLAIMER - So as to avoid similar confusion attributed to the RFT's parody story about project design at Ballpark Village, "Extreme Makeover - Riverfront Edition" is not really going into production for airing this spring or anytime soon. We wish it was! Our aim is get more people talking about the exciting potential of the Arch Design Competition for transforming downtown St. Louis!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Arch Design Competition Begins Today

Efforts to reconnect the Arch, the Riverfront and Downtown St. Louis begin today. The chosen method begins with an international design competition. The design competition program will lead to a plan for repositioning the way the Arch connects to the region. That plan comes with the possibility of substantial federal funding to make the project reality.

Among the world's most famous landmarks, the Arch is on par with the best. Unfortunately, it is located in a horrible setting, walled off from the community it represents. The setting is not appropriate for such a world class monument. As the design competition begins, consider how these other iconic landmarks relate to their surroundings:

The Sydney Opera House:

The US Capitol and Washington Monument:

The Eiffel Tower:

What do these landmarks have in common with the Gateway Arch? Do they suggest possibilities we might pursue?

Some say creativity is not really about originality but rather the combining and reworking of good ideas already learned.

Will our efforts result in experiences on par with visits to the world's other top landmarks? What would such an outcome mean for St. Louis?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Open Letter to Participants in Arch Design Competition

Dear Design Community:

Welcome to St. Louis! The magnificent Arch you will soon be studying is the cherished icon of St. Louis. It is our landmark and logo to the world. Unfortunately, it is like a precious gem placed in an inferior setting. For the past couple of years, the National Park Service has led an effort to fix that problem and reconnect the Arch, the riverfront, and downtown into one vibrant area. The designs you create will set in motion a process to transform downtown St. Louis.

Early on in this effort, Senator John Danforth encouraged big thinking for the future of downtown and the riverfront. The design competition will be where those ideas emerge. As you shape your plans, look around and see the challenges we are addressing. What big ideas are possible? How can infrastructure leverage transformative change? If we succeed in this effort, the answers to those questions will be revealed for St. Louis.

Comments on this website are unmoderated. What would others add to this open letter to the individuals and firms embarking on this potentially transformative project for downtown St. Louis and the region?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jury Selected for Arch Design Competition

From the press release:

FOR RELEASE: January 11, 2010

Contact: Janis Cooper

(314) 259-2015

Jury Selected for International Gateway Arch Design Competition

Pre-submittal meeting set for January 13 in St. Louis

Eight-Member Panel Will Determine Winning Design to Connect the Gateway Arch with
the Mississippi River and the St. Louis Region by 2015

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation today announced the formation of a nationally prominent jury to choose the winner of the international design competition to invigorate the park and city areas surrounding one of the world’s most iconic monuments, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

The announcement of the jury’s formation comes two days before the competition’s pre-submittal meeting on January 13. Potential competitors are invited to St. Louis for a briefing and a tour of the site. This meeting is open to the public and the media. Additional information can be found at:

Among those selected for the jury are a Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic, a professor in the humanities, a former Deputy Director of the National Park Service, an urban designer, a museum curator, and a renowned landscape architect. Specifically, jury members are:

· Robert Campbell, architecture critic at The Boston Globe and contributing editor for Architectural Record

· Gerald Early, Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters and Director of the African and Afro-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis

· Denis P. Galvin, former Deputy Director of the National Park Service

· Alex Krieger, founding principal of Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, architecture and urban design firm and professor at the Harvard School of Design, Cambridge, Mass.

· David C. Leland, an urban strategist and managing director of the Leland Consulting Group, Portland, Ore.

· Cara McCarty, curator of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York City

· Laurie D. Olin, partner and landscape architect of the OLIN Studio, Philadelphia

· Carol Ross Barney, founder and Principal of Ross Barney Architects, Chicago

The jury will work together to select the winning firm in the design competition – “Framing a Modern Masterpiece: The City + The Arch + The River 2015” – launched December 8, 2009. The competition will invite selected teams to create a new design for the Arch grounds and surrounding areas to create an iconic place for the international icon, the Gateway Arch, and weave connections and transitions from the city and the Arch grounds to the Mississippi River, including the east bank in Illinois.

The new design is called for in the National Park Service’s General Management Plan, which was developed with extensive public input over an 18-month period, and approved on November 23, 2009.

“We are honored that this diverse group of experts has agreed to devote its time to finding the perfect design for the region and the park,” said Tom Bradley, Superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, which includes the Gateway Arch.

“The distinguished jury represents a diverse but experienced and knowledgeable set of perspectives,” said Bruce Lindsey, Dean of the College and Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design at Washington University in St. Louis. “They were chosen carefully from local and national nominations and have committed their considerable collective expertise to helping identify an inspired and dynamic future for the Arch, its immediate surroundings, and connections to the city and the river.”

A governance group, which includes Bradley and Lindsey, as well as St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and business and community leaders from Missouri and Illinois, academics, architects, and national park advocates, was established by the non-profit the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation to manage the competition and select the jury.

The winning design will be announced in October 2010, with the resulting work completed by October 28, 2015 – the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Arch.

Firms have until Jan. 26, 2010 to register for the competition and submit for Stage I of the competition. The jury will then select those firms with the most outstanding portfolios to continue in the competition.

“We want to create a comprehensive, transparent process to establish a high level of design expectations for all of the competitors, including known and emerging designers.” said Donald Stastny, chief executive officer of StastnyBrun Architects in Portland, Ore, who is managing the competition.

Stastny will help guide and prepare the jury, whose members will participate throughout all phases of the competition process. The jurors will be offered an honorarium for their time and be reimbursed for travel, lodging and meal expenses.

Financial contributions to the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation are being handled by the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation, a public charity with more than $140 million in charitable assets and representing more than 350 individual funds.

Donors to the competition include: Emerson , Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis (Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park), Peter Fischer, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Civic Progress, Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation, Danforth Foundation, John F. McDonnell, Bryan Cave LLP, Greater St. Louis Community Foundation, National Park Foundation, Monsanto, Alison and John Ferring, Bank of America, David C. Farrell and donors who choose to remain anonymous.

Additional information can be found at

Jury Members

Robert Campbell FAIA

architecture critic/boston globe contributing editor/architectural record

Robert Campbell received the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his work as an architecture critic for the Boston Globe. He has published more than 100 feature articles in national periodicals, and is a contributing editor and columnist for the magazine Architectural Record. His book, Cityscapes of Boston: “An American City Through Time,” a collaboration with photographer Peter Vanderwarker, has achieved critical acclaim. Mr. Campbell also reviews books on architecture, urbanism, popular culture and poetry for the New York Times.

Mr. Campbell has been in private practice as an architect since 1975, chiefly as a consultant for the improvement or expansion of cultural institutions. A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, he has received the AIA’s Medal for Criticism, the Commonwealth Award of the Boston Society of Architects, a Design Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and grants from the Graham Foundation and the J. M. Kaplan Fund. Mr. Campbell was the 2004 recipient of the annual Award of Honor of the Boston Society of Architects.

Mr. Campbell has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Boston Architectural Center and the University of North Carolina. He is a former Visiting Scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1993-2002, he was visiting Sam Gibbons Eminent Scholar in Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of South Florida, and in 2002 he was Max Fisher Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan. In 2003, he was a Senior Fellow in the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University.

Mr. Campbell is a graduate of Harvard College, the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His poems have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Harvard Review and elsewhere. In 1997, he was an artist-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome.

Gerald Early PhD

professor washington university in st. louis

Gerald Early is an essayist, cultural critic, educator and poet. He is the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters and the Director of the Center for the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis. He was formerly Director of African and African American Studies.

Gerald’s publications include One Nation Under A Groove: Motown and American Culture, Daughters: On Family and Fatherhood, Tuxedo Junctions: Essays on American Culture, and The Culture of Bruising: Essays on Prizefighting, Literature and Modern American Culture. He most recently served as series editor for Best African American Essays 2010 (with guest editor Randall Kennedy) and Best African American Fiction 2010 (with guest editor Nikki Giovanni). He has served as a consultant on Ken Burns’ documentary films Baseball, Jazz, Unforgiveable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson and The War and he is a regular commentator on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air. His essays have appeared in numerous editions of Best American Essays Series.

Gerald Early earned an A.B. from the University of Pennsylvania and was awarded a Masters Degree and PhD from Cornell University. He has received numerous awards including the Whiting Writer’s Award and a National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.

Denis P. Galvin

former deputy director national park service

Denis P. Galvin joined the National Park Service in 1963 as a civil engineer (B.S. Northwestern University) at Sequoia National Park, Calif., after completing a two-year Peace Corps assignment in Tanzania, East Africa. Subsequent assignments saw Mr. Galvin serve as an engineer at Mount Rainier National Park, Wash.; in the Park Services’ Southwest Regional Office, based in Santa Fe, NM; as a training specialist at the agency’s Horace M. Albright Training Center in Grand Canyon, Ariz.; and, as a management assistant at the New York District Office, overseeing park operations for units in New York and New Jersey.

In 1974 when a new NPS Regional Office was opened in Boston, Mr. Galvin became Associate Regional Director for Operations; two years later, he became Deputy Director for that region. From that post, he transferred to Denver, Col., in 1978 where he was manager of the Denver Service Center. That office oversees most of the agency’s planning, design and construction program. In 1985, he was selected as Deputy Director of the National Park Service.

Mr. Galvin returned to planning, design and construction in 1989 when he was named Associate Director for Planning and Development. That position also included policy, information management and land acquisition programs. In September 1997, he accepted a re-assignment to Deputy Director. Mr. Galvin retired from the National Park Service in January, 2002. He is currently a Trustee of the National Parks Conservation Association and a Commissioner of the Second Century Commission, a group of nearly 30 diverse and distinguished Americans charged with developing a 21st century vision for our National Parks.

He received numerous awards throughout his career. In 1991 he was honored with the Pugsley Medal for outstanding service to parks and conservation. In 2001 he was given a Presidential Rank Award for exceptional achievement in the career Senior Executive Service.

Alex Krieger FAIA

founding principal chan krieger sieniewicz

Alex Krieger has combined a career of teaching and practice, dedicating himself in both to understanding how to improve the quality of place and life in our major urban areas.

Mr. Krieger is founding principal of Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, an architecture and urban design firm based in Cambridge, Mass., since 1984. Offering services in architecture, urban design and planning, the firm has received more than two-dozen regional, national and international awards for its work. The firm has served a broad array of clients in over 30 cities, focusing primarily on educational, institutional, health-care and public projects in complex urban settings.

Mr. Krieger is a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he has taught since 1977. He is Chairman of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, presently and from 1998-2004, as Director of the Urban Design Program, 1990-2001, and as Associate Chairman of the Department of Architecture, 1984-1989. He has also served in several university-wide roles including as senior planning advisor for Harvard’s campus expansion into Allston, Mass., and on the newly established design review committees for both the Allston and Cambridge campuses. In addition to design studios and seminar courses at the GSD, he teaches a core curriculum class at the College whose enrollment is regularly among the largest classes at Harvard.

Mr. Krieger’s major publications include: co-editing Urban Design (University of Minnesota Press, 2008), two volumes of Harvard Design Magazine (focusing on the evolution of urban design as a discipline), 2005-06; Remaking the Urban Waterfront, 2004; Mapping Boston, 1999; Towns and Town Planning Principles, 1994; A Design Primer for Towns and Cities, 1990; and Past Futures: Two Centuries of Imagining Boston, 1988. He has also authored more than two-dozen essays on American urbanization for various publications. He lectures frequently at national conferences and universities and is a frequent advisor to mayors and their planning staffs.

Mr. Krieger received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University and a Master of City Planning in Urban Design degree from Harvard.

David C. Leland

chief executive officer leland consulting group

Dave Leland is among the more knowledgeable urban strategists in the United States, with more than 45 years of experience in the real estate industry as a consultant, advisor, developer and owner. As the former CEO of a national real estate acquisitions and development company, and educated in architecture, city planning and urban economics, he brings a unique and thorough perspective to any project.

Mr. Leland’s particular interest lies in downtown revitalization, smart growth and sustainable communities, transit oriented development, and innovative mixed-use centers. He has worked with development organizations from privately held firms to Fortune 500s, and more than 300 communities with a portfolio that includes 80 downtown revitalization and implementation strategies, 70 light rail transit stations, 45 urban corridors, and a host of smaller centers, corridors, main streets and greenfield communities. Mr. Leland’s philosophy is to balance his firm’s workload between public and private developer clients and thereby maintain continuous awareness of the issues that always arise in building successful public-private partnerships. He has served as both panelist and chair on numerous Urban Land Institute Advisory Panels, guest lectured at universities, professional associations and conferences, and served on boards ranging from the National Charrette Institute to Portland State University’s School of Urban and Public Affairs (Ore.).

Cara McCarty

curatorial director smithsonian institution’s cooper-hewitt

Cara McCarty is Curatorial Director at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City, where she supervises all exhibitions and related activities in the broad field of design, including architecture, environmental, landscape, and urban design. For 14 years prior to joining the Cooper-Hewitt in 2007, Ms. McCarty was at the Saint Louis Art Museum as the Grace L. Brumbaugh and Richard E. Brumbaugh Curator of Decorative Arts and Design.

In St. Louis, Ms. McCarty served on the Executive Committee of the Saint Louis Art Museum's expansion, participating in the selection of the architect and landscape architect and working with David Chipperfield, the architect of the master plan and design. In New York, she is playing a lead role in the programming, scheduling and redesign of Cooper-Hewitt's premises. She initiated the thesis for the Museum’s 2010 Triennial Exhibition, Why Design Now?, which will focus on the latest worldwide innovations in the fields of urban mobility and energy use and she is supervising curator of the Museum's other forthcoming major exhibitions.

Ms. McCarty is a graduate of Stanford University. In 2004, she was selected to the mid-career Loeb Fellowship at Harvard's Graduate School of Design, attending courses at the Kennedy School of Government and doing advance work in urban design and architecture both at Harvard and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2008 and 2009, she was the American juror for the annual Dutch Design Awards to select the major design awards in the country, including architecture and landscape design.

Laurie D. Olin RLA FASLA

partner/landscape architect olin

Laurie Olin is a distinguished teacher and author and one of the most renowned landscape architects practicing today. His involvement often marks the signature of OLIN’s distinguished portfolio of projects, which span the history of the studio from Bryant Park in New York City to the Brancusi Ensemble in Romania. Recent projects include Simon and Helen Director Park in Portland, Ore., and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Mr. Laurie and his fellow partners at OLIN recently received the 2008 Landscape Design Award from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum for excellence and innovation in landscape design and dedication to sustainability.

Mr. Laurie is currently a practice professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has taught for 30 years. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and recipient of the 1998 Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Carol Ross Barney FAIA

design principal ross barney architects

Carol Ross Barney FAIA is founder and Principal of Ross Barney Architects. She is responsible for the design excellence of all projects undertaken by the firm. Dedicated to improving the built environment, her work has an international reputation in design of institutional and public buildings. The work of her firm has been published in national and international journals, books and newspapers and has received numerous honors including four Institute Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects and over 25 AIA Chicago Design Awards. Her drawings have been widely exhibited and collected by the Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Historical Society, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the National Building Museum. Ms. Ross Barney is the recipient of the American Institute of Architects 2005 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture. This award recognizes excellence for a career of architectural achievement. Recently, Ms. Ross Barney’s firm received an AIA COTE Top Ten Project award for the LEED Platinum, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, Illinois.

Recently completed projects include the new Commodore John Barry Elementary School in Philadelphia, Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, U.S. Border Station in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan, Swenson Science Building for the University of Minnesota at Duluth, Arts Science and Technology Pavilion for Oakton Community College, the Champaign Public Library and the Chicago River Walk. The Bloomingdale Trail, a new linear park in Chicago, a Civil Engineering Building at the University of Minnesota Duluth, and a Central Chiller Plant for Ohio State University are among the studio’s current commissions.

Ms. Ross Barney is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Following graduation, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica planning national parks. Ms. Ross Barney is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, one of the highest honors the Institute bestows upon its members. She has taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Oklahoma (Goff Chair for Creative Architecture) and the Illinois Institute of Technology, where she is teaching an advanced Design Studio and serves on the College Board of Overseers.


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Rhode Island effort to reconnect city, river

"Removing a Barrier" (a New York Times feature story)

St. Louis has the same opportunity with plans to reconnect the City, Arch, and River. Highway removal is key to making it happen.

Lots of other cities are considering their own highway removal options. Will Arch design competition entrants be so inspired?

Removal of the I-70 depressed and elevated lanes separating downtown from the riverfront and Arch grounds might seem like an impossible dream. However, here's what the National Park Service says about it in its recently adopted General Management Plan for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (from Section 5.4 "Comments, and Responses to Comments, On the Draft Plan"):

COMMENT: The portion of I-70 adjacent to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial should be removed in order to eliminate the physical and psychological barrier it creates.

RESPONSE: The National Park Service would prefer and strongly supports the removal of the Interstate highway between the Poplar Street Bridge and Eads Bridge at some point in the future. We recognize an undertaking of this magnitude may not be possible during the timeframe this GMP addresses (15-20 years), but we would amend the GMP should such an opportunity become feasible prior to the expiration of this plan.

At Ecology of Absence, Michael Allen makes a compelling case for analyzing the potential of highway removal in connection with the rerouting of I-70 over the new Mississippi River Bridge.

While the life of the GMP is 15-20 years, improvements built through the results of the design competition will surely be planned to have a useful life of much longer than that. We are likely to live with the decisions made today for the next 50 to 100 years. Unless of course the New Madrid decides to make a major move. In that case, all bets are off.

LA Football Stadium in Planning Stage

Click to view LA stadium promo video

Here, LA stadium developer John Semcken describes moving an existing NFL franchise, maybe two, to LA:

I want a 3-car garage...

...especially on mornings like this. You can always tell who has a garage-parked car and who parks on the street. The people with cars still half covered in snow and ice, they're street parkers. The warm and toasty drivers in shiny clean, snow free cars, they're garage parkers. It's a dead giveaway.

We have a garage. It's the original brick garage that came with the house back around 1932. Back then, cars were big as boats. Which makes the mystery about why our garage is tiny even stranger. Our garage looks more like a Missouri Ozarks smokehouse than a garage. In the summertime, when the back yard is in full bloom, visitors think the garage is "cute". Some say it looks like a garden house. It does. It sure looks alot more like a garden house than a garage. On days like these, I wish we had a garage that was more like a garage.

For a while, we were parking one car in the garage. To give you an idea of how small this garage is, in order to get our mid-size sedan in the garage, I'd first have to roll the lawnmower out into the alley, then park the car, then roll the mower back in the garage. It's tiny. However, given the vintage of its construction, if our neighborhood were ever designated a local historic district, I'm confident this tiny 1930s relic would be designated as a "contributing building" to the historic district. If it was, I'd still want a three-car garage.

Over a warm cup of coffee, I can dream about what that three-car garage would do. It would have a place to park two normal sized cars. It would have room to store tools, shelves, a couple of locking cabinets, and in the third bay, someday, it would be nice to park a tiny electric car or golf cart. I want to cruise the alleys of St. Louis in a golf cart. It's the thing to do and a great way to build up your neighborhood watch. None of this is possible in our quaint little smokehouse of a garage.

I've looked at options for expanding the existing garage. There are some possibilities. But they all leave us with still a tiny overall situation. The interior dimensions of the existing building are probably about 7 feet wide and 14 feet deep. Maybe.

But here's the real thing. Sure, this tiny garage is historic. It's neat to look at it, and it's scaled to the yard. It definitely has charm. I like it and I love the charm of our home, our neighborhood, and St. Louis. On the other hand, I want something that works. This garage definitely does not work for much except to store rakes, a mower and yard tools. Our quality of life in our city home would be much higher with a three car garage. Getting bigger garages with older homes is one way to make living in our older neighborhoods more competitive with our suburban neighbors.

We are in our second city house. The first one also had a tiny garage - a frame one. We lived with that one much like our current one. It was mostly good for storing yard equipment. Eventually, we took out a loan and did a lot of upgrades on the house, and demolished the old garage and built a new one. It was a one-and-one-half car garage built by Bullock Garage.

The garage was on sale as part of a promotional deal at the 1998 St. Louis Home Improvement Show. Counting demolition of the old garage, the cost of the new garage was about $11,000. It was awesome. Neighborhood kids played in there. It served as a roller hockey rink. In bad weather, I could work inside with the door open and be comfortable. We'd sit out there and drink beer, host parties, lots of stuff.

So now I have a goal for our current home. We've got to figure out a way to upgrade our garage situation. Three-car would be wonderful. Two-car would be good. And one-and-one-half-car would be better than what we have now. And to get there, I really wouldn't want to be required to preserve our existing historic garage.

In the future, I might be open to building it according to neighborhood design standards. Would people in my neighborhood want to establish a neighborhood or urban design code? I don't know. Either way, I'm betting I could get a new garage built long before neighbors would come to a decision about implementing neighborhood design standards. A guy can dream, can't he?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Locations for Transit Oriented Developments

There has been an increase locally in the efforts to construct higher density housing near transit stations. A partnership between McCormack Baron Salazar and Bi-State is working on a mixed use housing and retail development on the surface lot accross from the DeBaliviere Metrolink Station.

What about the area adjacent to the bus stop/passenger drop off area at the Metrolink station at Manchester in Maplewood? When they built the parking/drop off area, they regraded a large area next to the site. It seems like a great location for a transit oriented development. Any Maplewood experts know about the prospects for T-O-D there?