Posts tagged with "St. Louis":

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GROW pavilion completed at St. Louis Science Center

The St. Louis Science Center (SLSC) has opened its largest new exhibit space in 25 years. The new exhibition space, GROW, is the largest agriculture exhibit in the United States. At the heart of the exhibit is a 5,000-square-foot pavilion designed by St. Louis-based Arcturis in collaboration with HOK founder Gyo Obata. The new pavilion is situated on an acre of land which was the former site of the pneumatic Exploradome. Between the pavilion and its surrounding outdoor space, the new complex includes 40 interactive exhibits. Visitors to GROW can engage with farming implements, beehives, a greenhouse, chickens, fish, and live crops. Exhibits like the Fermentation Station will follow the path of beer from farm to bar. The exhibition design was done by Oakland, California–based Gyroscope. Demonstrations and events will also be held at GROW to help visitors understand the long, and often complicated, food supply chain. “We wanted to create something that reflects SLSC’s modernist architectural history and also feels like art. The pavilion’s curved roofline is open to interpretation by visitors and has inspired some to say it looks like a leaf, others that it reminds them of a turn-of-the-century plow. We’re very pleased with the result,” said Arcturis Principle Megan Ridgeway. Gyo Obata was the original architect of the Science Center’s iconic Planetarium, which was built in 1963.
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With a trio of exhibitions, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation makes an in-depth exploration of the home

Home. Everyday. Ordinary. These words describe what binds the three summer exhibitions at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation (PAF) in St. Louis: 4562 Enright Avenue, Exquisite Everyday: 18th Century Decorative Arts Objects from the J. Paul Getty Museum, and The Ordinary Must Not Be Dull: Claes Oldenburg’s Soft Sculptures. But they raise as many questions as they answer. Whose home? What routines? Which physical structures/objects are used? The prospect is ripe with dichotomies: fluidity/stasis, divisions/confluence, asset/liability, thought/action, open space/occupied territory, vacant/inhabited, continuity/disruption, utopian/dystopian, creation/devastation, fade/appear. raumlaborberlin, the German architecture collective, is behind 4562 Enright Avenue, which transposes elements of this long-abandoned house—windows, beams, doors, staircases—into a nearly identical-sized gallery at the Pulitzer’s Tadao Ando-designed building 1.7 miles and lights years away. (Like Duchamp’s Fountain [urinal], it’s all about context.) Meanwhile, on site, the brick shell remains. At the museum, one turns the corner to encounter a facade of two stories with arched windows and a door crowned with a glass door light featuring the number 4562. You enter the first room, a living room with stately, upholstered chairs and a mantle. On the floor there are chalk outlines, like police evidence at a crime scene, of more furniture, that constitute the formal room from the house’s heyday—and that Jan Liesegang of raumlaborberlin imagines was barely used. The next room is filled with debris and stacks of materials precisely as found in the abandoned house in 2015. The third and last room on the ground floor imagines what could be for St. Louis housing going forward, displayed in a workshop setting with drafting table, photographs (Saarinen’s Gateway Arch), drawings (Pruitt-Igoe), and books (including Mapping Decline by Colin Gordon), all of which can be handled by visitors. Two staircases—one front-of-house and one for service—lead to a second floor that sports a suspended sink, wooden slat backboards, and, in contrast to the found objects and materials, a new pod-alike intervention. The pod is wrapped in white-painted newsprint in a neatly folded, scale-like pattern, around a translucent rectangular oculus lit from within. This belongs to Liesegang’s fanciful occupant of the house, an imaginary scientist. Since visitors cannot climb the stairs, this apparition remains mysterious. Shelves and tables outside the house are workstations and a video display showcases interviews with residents and neighbors of Enright Avenue. raumlaborberlin: 4562 Enright Avenue - Time-lapse from Pulitzer Arts Foundation on Vimeo. The process of creating this display was nearly a year in the making. raumlaborberlin, whose name means “space” + “laboratory,” is known for projects in transitional urban spaces that combine architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, and art (See Spacebuster at Storefront for Art & Architecture and the New Museum’s Festival of Ideas for the New City, 2008 & 2011). St. Louis was described to me as a fetishized Detroit, a city where, in certain neighborhoods, lots are vacant and houses are abandoned like missing teeth, directly alongside occupied homes. The description painted a hollow urban center—the City of St. Louis—ringed by a suburban collar and the County of St. Louis (Ferguson is in the County). St. Louis is recovering from a long slide of white flight coupled with the decline of manufacturing and Mississippi River traffic. It’s a long way from the city’s role as Gateway to the West, the start of Lewis and Clark’s journey. The city is also bisected by Delmar Avenue; Enright Avenue is one block north (where 98% of residents identify as black, median home value is $73,000, and median annual income is $18,000), whereas Washington Avenue, where the Pulitzer is located, is one block south (where 73% of residents identify as white, median home value is $335,000, and median annual income is $50,000). To raumlaborberlin, this urban divide was familiar from the Berlin Wall in their home city and seen as hopeful since that barrier is now a memory after the wall’s demise 27 years ago. Asked to address the ways that we inhabit the urban landscape, and specifically engaging St. Louis and its residents, the collective zeroed in on the Lewis Place/Vanderventer neighborhood and its contemporary ruins. (Interestingly, A.E. Hotchner’s coming of age book, King of the Hill, was written about his childhood in a seedy hotel at Delmar & Kingshighway, a few short blocks away.) Together with neighbors and the City of St. Louis Building Commissioner, this uninhabited, structurally unsound Romanesque/French Renaissance Revival house built in 1890 (and slated for demolition) was selected. To shine a light on issues, they decided to move the building to the museum in order to reimagine the structure and what might replace it. It is meant to pose questions, rather than answers. A key one Liesegang asked is “How much can you take away from a house and it's still a home?” Exquisite Everyday: 18th-Century Decorative Art Objects from the J. Paul Getty Museum at first seems to be the antithesis of 4562 Enright. But it signifies someone else’s “everyday,” in this case upper class French and Italians. These objects—sauceboat, armchair, wall sconce, carpet, basin and ewer, chamber pot—are beautiful, ornate, and highly crafted, yet represent changing styles and practices. The sauceboat, for example, shows a more casual buffet style where diners helped themselves, rather than relying entirely on footmen. The objects for personal hygiene were used for ablution, rather than bathing by submersion, which was considered unhealthy. One can imagine their equivalents at 4562 Enright Avenue, when it was first inhabited by middle-class Germans, and then by black residents in the 20th century. Claes Oldenberg’s soft sculptures in The Ordinary Must Not Be Dull depict household objects including light switches, key, tires, 3-way electric plug, clothespin, ice bag, folding chair, and an array of food that includes french fries, baked potato, and green beans. Oldenburg shines a light on the everyday, making us look at the familiar in unfamiliar ways. In addition to exaggerating their size by inflating them to a vast scale, he also questions the traditional notion of sculpture’s substance by making them soft and pliable, rather than of more conventional hard, solid materials. The Pulitzer has a tradition of engaging the city, starting with The Light Project (2008), a series of public art commissions; Urban Alchemy/Gordon Matta-Clark (2010) by Theaster Gates, Robert Longer, and Jenny Murphy; and Crossing the Delmar Divide (2012-14), a 2-year project with the Missouri Historical Society and the Anti-Defamation League addressing racial and socioeconomic disparities. PAF’s work will continue with PXSTL, a collaboration with Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, that has commissioned a site-specific temporary structure for community-based programs and events by architect Amanda Williams and artist/educator Andres Hernandez to open in May 2017. Director Cara Starke, who previously served as Director of Exhibitions at Creative Time, spearheaded the raumlaborberlin commission when she assumed the position one year ago, so we can look forward to continued inquiry into the built environment from the Pulitzer. Pulitzer Arts Foundation 3716 Washington Boulevard St. Louis MO 63108 raumlaborberlin: 4562 Enright Avenue Exquisite Everyday: 18th-Century Decorative Arts from the J. Paul Getty Museum The Ordinary Must Not Be Dull: Claes Oldenburg’s Soft Sculptures All exhibits on view through October 15, 2016.
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Aquarium—and massive shark tank—planned for St. Louis’s Union Station

By fall 2018, St. Louis will be home to a new 1-million-gallon aquarium. The aquarium is part of a larger redevelopment of St. Louis Union Station, a National Historic Landmark. The St. Louis Aquarium is being developed by Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM), the St. Louis-based hospitality management company that's also behind the larger re-imaging of Union Station. The $45 million aquarium will house thousands of aquatic species and will include a 385,000-gallon shark tank. Visitors will be able walk inches above the tank on a v-shaped rope Shark Bridge. The shark tank will also be the backdrop of a 8,500-square-foot private event space for weddings and corporate events. “The St. Louis Aquarium will anchor the development that will transform St. Louis Union Station and reposition it as a family attraction destination similar to Chicago’s Navy Pier,” explained Bob O’Loughlin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Lodging Hospitality Management and owner of St. Louis Union Station. Along with the aquarium, the redevelopment will also include a 200-foot-high observation Ferris wheel, a Fire & Light Show at the Lake, a new boardwalk around the site’s pond, and a new food area called the Train Park. The redevelopment also includes work on the hotel, which will add 32 new rooms to its current 539 rooms. Construction on the aquarium is planned to begin this year, with an anticipated completion in fall 2018. The 75,000-square-foot attraction will take the place of the mall area in Union Station. The current hotel and mall at Union Station were designed in 1985 and were part of a revitalization of downtown St. Louis. The popularity of the mall has declined over the last decade and the new redevelopment hopes to bring families from the entire St. Louis region back to the area.
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An undulating kinetic living sculpture flourishes at the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis

Brooklyn-based landscape architecture firm Nomad Studio has designed a "kinetic living sculpture" for the Contemporary Art Museum of Saint Louis. The installation—dubbed Green Air—is the second half of a two part exhibition at the museum; this iteration features an array of Tillandsias (an evergreen plant) hanging from slices of repurposed wood. The undulating hanging garden partially diffuses light into an open space within the Museum. According to a press release, Green Air was "conceived as a living, kinetic sculpture nested within the courtyard of the Contemporary Art Museum of Saint Louis." The work is a reaction to Nomad's previous installation, Green Varnish, which was an equally curvaceous landscape form that rose up from the ground at an angle. Dismantled last fall, the green fabric was made up of thousands of succulents that "symbolically covered all the inconvenient facts of our lifestyle." (Green Varnish won last year's Best of Design Award in the Temporary Installation category.) In fact, Nomad said the space was "modeled as the inverse of Green Varnish, both in form and intention," as it switched from an anchored solid to a free-hanging fluid volume. By doing so, the studio aimed to create a "continuity and dialogue between the two pieces and the people who experience them" as well as conjure up "urgent reflection upon the contrast between the dynamic and static in natural and man-made systems."
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New Pulitzer Arts Foundation exhibition will explore drastic urban decline in St. Louis

Witnessing a 60 percent decline in population since its heyday in the 1950s, empty properties have become an all-too common sight in the city of St. Louis. More than 7,000 buildings are abandoned and the bulk of those dwellings are slated to be torn down. In reaction to this, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation asked: "What does a house represent, and how does it reflect our lives, desires, and dreams?"

To help form an answer, the Foundation has commissioned Berlin-based architecture studio Raumlaborberlin to create a physical reaction to their question. To prepare, the studio has been working alongside neighborhood residents and numerous figures in urban planning. For the exhibit, the studio will partially dismantle an empty property (pictured), essentially gutting it, and use its interior framework to rebuild it within the Pulitzer Gallery only a few blocks away.

As a result, the house, which sits on 4562 Enright Avenue, will survive as a shell for a few days before being finally brought to its knees and demolished in early August. This process is due to take e several days with much of the materials, most notably the brick, being resold within the community. Lending a hand a deconstruction and refabrication firm Refab. Funds from the materials will then go towards developing a youth program win the Enright neighborhood, while on July 30, a block party is being held to mark the beginning of the demolition process. The aim of this, says the Foundation, is to "reflect the house’s historical past, tenuous present, and speculative future."

The studio's first museum exhibition in the U.S., the exhibition will also offer video interviews carried out by Raumlaborberlin with local residents touching on the economic and social factors contributing to the urban dereliction.

“It’s a microcosm that exists across all American cities,” said Cara Starke, the Foundation’s director, speaking about the project in the New York Times. "The proceeds from the sale of the wood and bricks from the original house are to be reinvested into landscaping and youth programming in the Enright Avenue community.

“So many stakeholders have come together to create shared goals,” Starke added. “We’ll see how this persists past the project.” The exhibition, dubbed raumlaborberlin:4562 Enright Avenue, will run through October 15.

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Sam Fox architecture students build expanding foam boat prototype

Ten architecture students at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis have produced a working boat prototype, using expanding polyurethane spray foam as their primary material. The master’s students are following in the steps of the likes of Frank Gehry, Greg Lynn, and Zaha Hadid, who all have recently designed custom yachts. Paired off in twos, teams designed and tested a half dozen smaller prototypes, which they tested in the Grand Basin in Forest Park near the Washington University campus. Two of the prototypes were chosen to move forward to further development and a full size prototype. The goal of the project was to test the material possibilities of a product that is easily found in typical hardware stores, and usually used for housing insulation. The expanding foam for the project was provided by Fenton, MO–based manufacturer Convenience Projects. “The first half of the project was about learning what the material can do. What are its capacities?” Master’s candidate Benjamin Newberry, told WUSTL’s campus journal. “How do you convert it into something that floats?” https://youtu.be/XuG6f3jldh4 Frank Gehry, an avid boater, recently finished FOGGY 2.0, an 80 foot long sailboat he designed for his friend, real estate investor Richard Cohen. In 2013 Zaha Hadid unveiled plans for a 420-foot superyacht prototype which is being used a base design for further investigations by Hadid and Hamburg-based shipbuilders Blohm+Voss. Greg Lynn launched his own carbon-fiber 42 foot racing yacht last year. Lynn used the sailboat as a means of investigating the possibility of monocoque construction with composite materials.
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With the Rams leaving town, SPACE Architecture speculates on a St. Louis pro soccer stadium

St. Louis–based SPACE Architecture + Design has release a series of renderings for a speculative Major League Soccer (MLS) stadium for downtown St. Louis. This proposal comes in the wake of news that the NFL’s St. Louis Rams football team would be leaving St. Louis for Los Angeles, and subsequently not building a new stadium along the Mississippi River. Sports buzz has picked up again about a possible MLS team making its home in the city. Since the news that the city would be losing the professional football team, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and State Governor Jay Nixon  have continued to discuss the possibility of an expansion team in St. Louis. SPACE initiated the discussion of what a major league stadium would look like within their office two years ago when rumors of MLS’s interest in the city started to spread and fans began grassroots efforts to attract a team. In a discussion with AN, Alex Ihnen of SPACE explained the office’s motivations behind preemptively presenting the city with a stadium plan. “We think too often politicians and people who are excited think about money, they think about how we are going to pay for this, where do the taxes come from," he said. "That is their domain, but our domain as architects is to figure out how can this add to the city, which is bigger. It is important to get out ahead of this” The offices proposal involves a sunken field directly south of the historic Union Station. Union Station itself is under redevelopment. Located along Clark Street, SPACE envisions its proposal as a part possible downtown sports corridor, which would include the Major League Baseball Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Scottrade Center, home of the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues. And though the proposal is an unsolicited speculation, the discussion of funding a stadium is already being taken seriously by state legislators. A ballot initiative has been presented by State Rep. Keith English to incur a one tenth of one percent sales tax in St. Louis and St. Louis County. The bill is written as to try and avoid a similar fiasco as the current Rams stadium, Edward Jones Dome, which has not been fully paid for despite the team leaving the city.
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Engineers’ Club of St. Louis renovates and renames club building

One of the nation’s oldest engineering societies is set to remodel its St. Louis Mid-Century Modern home. The 65-year-old building of the Engineers’ Club of St. Louis will be getting a much needed renovation by the local design and planning firm Remiger Design. As an organization, the 150 year old Engineers’ Club of St. Louis has over 1,000 members. Along with the Engineers’ Club, the club’s building is home to over 30 other affiliated groups, representing over 14,000 engineers, architects, and other building tradespeople from the St. Louis region. Once the renovation is complete the building will become known as the Engineering Center, changing from the Engineers’ Club, to better represent the diverse set of organizations that it houses. Situated in St. Louis’s Central West End, the building was built in 1958 by St. Louis' noted mid-century modernist firm Russell, Mullgardt, Schwarz and Van Hoefen. With its distinctive roofline and car-centric design—the main entrance faces the parking lot on the back of the building—the new design will keep some of the old while updating particular aspects for more contemporary uses. From the exterior, notable changes will include the moving of the entrance, new cladding, and an extended patio with updated landscaping. Along with the building’s angular roofline, its Modernist parapet detailing will be preserved. The interior of the building will see the greatest changes, including a complete remodel of the auditorium. By leveling the current slopped seating area the space will be converted to a more flexible meeting area. Other spaces will be converted to seminar rooms to facilitate the clubs S.T.E.M. (Science Technology Engineering Math) youth education programs. Planned to be phased over the coming years, construction on will begin spring 2016 “Designing this renovation project for the Engineering Center is a unique opportunity for us to work directly with an organization that has made historically significant contributions to the profession of engineering,” remarked Vern Remiger, president of Remiger Design in a statement to the press. Remiger Design is also heavily involved with the renovation of the park around the St. Louis Gateway Arch, with Vern Remiger acting as the Design Team Manager for the CityArchRiver organization.
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Three finalists named in PXSTL design-build competition

The Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis have announced three finalists for the second iteration of the design-build PXSTL competition. The three finalist were culled from a list of 35 artist, architects, and designers, who were solicited by the organizer. The list includes: —Randstad, NL and Istanbul-based architects Merve Bedir and Jason Hilgefort —New York/Houston-based artist Mary Ellen Carroll —Chicago-based architect Amanda Williams and artist/educator Andres L. Hernandez PXSTL (David Johnson) Canopy of the 2014 PXSTL structure. (David Johnson) All of the finalist will travel to St. Louis in mid-February to conduct detailed site analysis and give public presentations on their previous work and interest in PXSTL. The winner will be announced in March. Along with an $80,000 budget to complete the project, the winner will teach an architecture studio as visiting faculty at the Sam Fox Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Planning in Fall 2016 semester. With commentary from community stakeholders, cultural organizers and local artist, the winner will work with their students to develop the project over the semester. PXSTL (an acronym for Pulitzer, Sam FoX School, and ST. Louis) is a competition for a design-build commission to build a temporary structure on an empty lot near the Pulitzer Art Foundation in the Grand Center arts district. The fist iteration of the PXSTL was completed in 2014 by the Brooklyn-based Freecell Architecture. Their project comprises of a large canopy under which dance, music, and community events were held throughout the summer of 2014. This year’s competition will conclude in the pavilion construction in spring of 2017 and community programing through the summer of 2017. The goal of PXSTL is in engage the community with small-scale intervention to encourage urban transformation. As part of this, the public will have a chance to offer feedback in public forums to be held in the fall. “Since its founding, the Pulitzer has been dedicated to creating opportunities for art and culture to have a positive impact on the broader St. Louis community. As PXSTL demonstrates, this means working closely with and listening carefully to both our community and cultural partners.” Remarked Cara Starke, director of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, in a press release.
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Washington University’s youth Alberti Program receives large pledge from local firm

Washington University in St. Louis' Alberti Program for youth architecture has been given a major boost from the St. Louis–based design and planning firm PGAV Destinations in the form of a pledge of $125,000 and volunteer time. https://player.vimeo.com/106140248 The Alberti Program, started in 2006, is administered by the Sam Fox School’s College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design, and engages students in fourth through ninth grade from regional schools. With a focus on architectural problem solving and sustainability, the program’s goal is to reach the most diverse demographic of students possible. So far the program has worked with students from 145 elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the St. Louis area. Of those, one third of the schools are located in communities with per capita yearly income of less than $18,000. Free to participants, program runs on weekends throughout the academic year and on weekdays during a summer session. The contribution form PGAV will provide new resources to students, and insure the program can continue to operate at no cost to participants as it is distributed over the next five years. PGAV Destinations specializes in cultural and amusement design, with projects ranging from aquariums and museums to theme parks and casinos. The pledge from PGAV is part of the offices 50th anniversary, and will include dedicated volunteer time from the offices designers along with the monetary contribution. The volunteer time will include guest speaking, office visits to the firm's St. Louis headquarters, as well as classroom instruction. Along with general support for the program the $125,000 will help with costs associated with field trips, lecturers, and executing hands-on projects produced by the students.
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Isamu Noguchi’s space-age, fluid ceiling is hidden inside this St. Louis truck rental warehouse

In what has become a recurring irony, the poor taste of 20th century corporations has been saving the day for historic buildings across the country. Now as companies like Walgreens and CVS rehabilitate dilapidated banks into drugstores, St. Louis might be getting its first look in decades at a historic Isamu Noguchi designed ceiling hidden above a drop ceiling in what's now a U-Haul truck rental warehouse. Unbeknownst to many, what currently appears to be a clumsy brick and metal paneled warehouse at 1641 South Kingshighway Boulevard in St. Louis, is actually a gem of mid-century Modernism. The building that now holds the U-Haul storage and rental center was originally designed by St. Louis architect Harris Armstrong in 1947 as the headquarters for the Magic Chef American Stove Company. The structure was hailed as a masterpiece of International Style design, which included an ornate curvilinear lobby ceiling designed by none other than the famed Isamu Noguchi. It was not long before Magic Chef would move away and the building would become a clinic established by the Teamsters Union. Eventually left empty in the late 1960s, U-Haul, the current owners, would come to acquire the building in the late '70s. U-Haul would subsequently attempt to repair the now-decaying building and bring the space up to code, though with little-to-no mind towards preserving the aesthetics or architectural features of the building. It would be these very same inexpensive, and sometimes incomplete, fixes that would eventually be the saving grace of the building. Now, at least 20 years since a drop ceiling was added—covering the Noguchi designed ceiling—and metal paneling was added to the exterior of the building—covering its glass facade—it seems that at least some of the building will be returned to its former glory. As reported by local public radio station 90.7 KWMU, U-Haul is planning to uncover the figural ceiling in the spring of 2016. This news comes as a relief to many that remember the original space, believing the ceiling had been destroyed. And though U-Haul has made no indication that they would be restoring the entire building, this move makes it clear that the building could someday be restored. According to circuit court documents from the early '90s, it is very likely that the original windows are still under the metal paneling that now covers the building. In the 1980s, U-Haul was attempting to stop leaking windows with caulk to no avail. As an affordable solution, metal paneling was installed as a rain screen and a visual barrier into the building which holds customers’ stored items. This solution was not immediately accepted by the city’s Building Commission and Heritage Commission, and a series of hearings and appeals were held before the company was allowed to proceed with installation. The Heritage Commission called the plan no less than grotesque in their recommendation to stop the panels from being installed. "The proposed siding will create a design which is not compatible with the style and design of surrounding improvements and which is not conducive to the proper architectural development of the community. The proposed siding would also constitute an unsightly, grotesque or unsuitable structure in appearance, detrimental to the welfare of the surrounding property and residents." Though St. Louisans won’t be getting back their Modernist oven store just yet, it is encouraging that U-Haul is recognizing the worth of a designed space. With every uncovered ceiling or facade, the city gets one step closer to having a piece of its once lost architectural history back.
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Over a quarter of the streetcar systems taking shape in the U.S. are in Midwest cities

According to the American Public Transportation Association, a public transit advocacy group, there are more than 90 cities in the United States that are actively considering implementing streetcar systems. Of those 90, over a quarter are in the Midwest. Though all in different stages of planning, development, and construction, a handful are well underway, with service beginning as early as 2016. Kansas City and Cincinnati are both in the process of live testing their newly manufactured cars, while Milwaukee debates expanding its current plans. Though hundreds of cities across the country once had streetcars, by the 1960s most had been dismantled with the rise of the private automobile and public bus systems. The current renaissance of streetcar construction is often attributed to cities interested in bolstering downtown transit options, and encouraging more ecologically sustainable modes of transportation. Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, may be the first of the new Midwest streetcar lines to open in early 2016. Dubbed the RideKC Streetcar, the light blue electric trolleys will services a 2.2-mile street along Main St. The system will have four cars running between 16 stops for 18 hours a day. Similarly to streetcars of the past, electricity will be drawn from overhead wires. Unlike past services, the new cars will be wi-fi enabled and free to ride. This first leg of construction is being positioned as a first step in a much larger plan to link the entire Kansas City region with multi-model integrated transit system. Detroit’s new streetcar system will be unique in that it was masterminded by a private non-profit organization. The M-1 Rail, to open by 2017, draws on the economic power of small and large businesses along its route, philanthropic institutions, and a close tie with city government to realize a complex funding and administrative system for the public-private venture. At one point the project was envisioned to expand to a 9 mile route, with more involvement from regional transit partnerships. After multiple feasibility studies it was found that, for economic reason, the 3.3 mile current route was more viable, with possibilities of expansion in the near future. The path to building streetcar systems is often far from smooth. With resistance from state and local governments, it took Cincinnati voters electing new city councilors and rejecting multiple anti-rail ballot initiatives to realize their new transit system. With discussions starting in earnest in 2007 and construction starting in 2012, it will be nine years in the coming when the system finally opens in September 2016. The 3.6 mile loop will service the Over the Rhine neighborhood and the downtown, highlighting the original intent of the system to encourage development in both districts. The Over the Rhine neighborhood, a member of the National Register of Historic Places, has been experiencing a renaissance in the last 10 years, after decades of struggles with crime and declining population. In the case of Milwaukee’s streetcar project, set to open in 2018, the resistance has not been coming from the government as much as from a small group of vocal opponents, who have taken issue with the $124 million project. Though, with a recent failure of a petition to stop further expansion of the already approved first leg of the system, the opposition seems to have dried up. The majority of the funding for the Milwaukee Streetcar is coming from U.S. Department of Transportation grants and Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) Districts. The city and the federal government are betting on the street car to relieve vehicle congestion and pollution while raising property values along the route. Anticipating the rail’s impact on downtown Milwaukee, a 44-story residential tower by local architects Rinka Chung is planned to begin construction in 2016. The base of the project will integrate a streetcar stop along with shopping and office programs. Though it may have been 50 years since many U.S. cities have had street cars, the next five years will see large moves to reverse that situation. Along with KC, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis, MO, and St.Paul, MN, are making moves to implement their own streetcar systems. With the rise of the suburbs and automobile travel often being blamed for the decline of the streetcar, it would seem that this new trend might be pointing towards yet another indicator of the tendencies of contemporary city dwellers. A greater environmental consciousness, neighborhood investment, and a shifted understanding of economic stability, define the values of a young population that streetcar systems across the Midwest, and the entire country, hope to leverage into success.