Posts tagged with "St. Louis":

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Federal agency eyes St. Louis’ Pruitt-Igoe site for new development

More than 40 years after its last high-rise fell, the site of St. LouisPruitt-Igoe public housing development remains basically empty. Design competitions, documentaries, and local developers have all pondered its future. Now the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has said it’s considering the 34 acres once home to the infamous housing project as a location for 3,000 jobs. The website nextSTL reported this week that the NGA—a federal agency created in 1996 to provide maps and data for national defense—is looking at Pruitt-Igoe as it relocates its St. Louis offices from the city’s Kosciusko neighborhood. The site is one of six under consideration, but officials say the decision won't be made until 2016. The city recently sought $25 million in infrastructure improvements to the area, which some called a necessary investment regardless of the site’s future. Others disparaged it as a handout to developer Paul McKee, who has an option on the Pruitt-Igoe site and already owns nearly 2,000 other parcels of land in St. Louis. In January the city extended McKee's option, which he purchased in 2012 for just over $1 million, for another two years. The infamous post-war development in St. Louis’ DeSoto-Carr neighborhood (now Carr Square) was demolished less than 20 years after its construction in 1954. Photos of its demolition with the Gateway Arch in the distance have come to symbolize the failure of midcentury public housing projects in the U.S. Several of the development’s smaller buildings remain, including a one-story brick building that served as the development’s electric substation, three churches, a library, a school and a health center.
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On View> Inside the Palace of Fine Arts: Cosmopolitanism at the 1904 World’s Fair

Inside the Palace of Fine Arts: Cosmopolitanism at the 1904 World’s Fair Kemper Art Museum, Washington University 1 Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO Through August 3 As part of STL250, a region-wide celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of St. Louis, the Kemper Art Museum at Washington University presents Inside the Palace of Fine Arts: Cosmopolitanism at the 1904 World’s Fair. This exhibition brings together a selection of artworks from the Museum’s permanent collection that were on view at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, along with related works, to explore the role of the World’s Fair in relation to local aspirations to turn the city into an international cultural center. The show features such artists as Jean Charles Cazin, Frederic Edwin Church, Charles François Daubigny, Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Peña, and Jozef Israëls.
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St. Louis Exhibition Explores Street Design in Grand Center Arts District

St. Louis’ Grand Center neighborhood has gone through a lot of changes. Though it was hit hard by suburban flight during the 1950s, in recent years the historic and predominantly African-American community area has enjoyed an artistic revival bolstered by theaters and cultural institutions like the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. Now a confluence of development corporations and nonprofits want the midtown neighborhood “to become the premiere cultural and entertainment tourist destination in the Midwest.” Part of that plan involves sprucing up the urban fabric. With a Great Streets Projects grant from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, local groups are looking to do some placemaking. Read the full Grand Center Master Plan, named The Growing Grand Plan. On a neighborhood scale, the plan envisions corridors of development along Spring and Theresa streets flanking the “spine & transect” of Grand Boulevard and Washington Avenue. Within that framework, the plan pinpoints several intersections and cross-block connectors that could be activated by public programming to function as “outdoor rooms.” Trees and green infrastructure are meant to alleviate some of St. Louis’ flooding issues by retaining and filtering stormwater. The Great Streets plan even describes a new catchment area for Grand Center. Branding, wayfinding, lighting, and transportation analyses are also a focus of the plan. To help spur discussion, The Creative Exchange Lab of the Center for Architecture is mounting an exhibition on the topic. Titled Great Streets Project: Grand Center, the show kicks off with two presentations on May 22 and May 23 at The Creative Exchange Lab of the Center for Architecture + Design STL, 3307 Washington Ave., from 6-8:30 p.m. both evenings.
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Friday> Freecell & Pulitzer Foundation turn a vacant lot in St. Louis into a parade of public programs

Last year, a vacant lot across the street from the Pulitzer Foundation in St. Louis became the site of a design competition for a temporary built-environment installation. New York’s Freecell Architecture won PXSTL's $50,000 project budget and $10,000 honorarium for a proposal to erect an adjustable canopy for performances and gatherings—an idea Kristina Van Dyke, director of the Pulitzer Foundation, called “both monumental and ephemeral at the same time.” Freecell’s installation, entitled Lots, opens Friday, May 9. An opening celebration from 7:00 to 9:00p.m. will include a dance performance by students at the Grand Center Arts Academy, which will be connected to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum by free shuttle bus for the evening. Through October 5, Lots will occupy the space across Washington Avenue from the Pulitzer Foundation, an elegant concrete building designed by Tadao Ando. (Read AN’s Q&A with Tadao Ando here.) Public programs will take over the canopy throughout the summer, funded by grants from the foundation. Thirteen grant recipients will provide programming for the inaugural PXSTL installation. See PXSTL's website for more information about the opening event, which is also sponsored by the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University.
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Letter to the Editor> Let There Be Light

[Editor's Note: The following are reader-submitted comments in response to the article “Born Again” (AN 02_02.19.2014_MW). Opinions expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the opinions or sentiments of the newspaper. AN welcomes reader letters, which could appear in our regional print editions. To share your opinion, please email editor@archpaper.com. ] This reminds me quite a bit of the never-built proposal, Bombed Churches as War Memorials (1945), published in London after WWII, which presented various designs for bombed-out churches to be preserved in ruined form with the addition of garden plantings and a few amenities. In the event, there were a few bombed churches that were preserved, but not many, and the sites were not developed as visitor spaces. This is all described in the excellent book In Ruins by Christopher Woodward, which is a good read if you’re interested in the paradox of ruins and why they cause both pleasure and pain. Anne Boyd Philadelphia, PA This sounds incredible! I did a project on these two lots during my Master’s at WashU. I have a timeline of the church and old photos I found in archives, as well as hand drawings of the church. If anyone wants to take a look you can see it here. David Adkin St. Louis, MO
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These are the ten most threatened buildings in Illinois

Preservation group Landmarks Illinois identified its ten most endangered historic places in the state Tuesday, a list which includes the embattled Uptown Theatre, a Jens Jensen landscape, and Chicago’s Central Manufacturing District on the Southwest Side. “The sites named to the list are all exceptionally important to not only local residents, but the local economy,” said Bonnie McDonald, Landmarks Illinois’ president (Read AN’s Q&A with McDonald here). “By calling attention to the potential for their reuse and revitalization, we are encouraging job creation and economic development across Illinois—something everyone can support.” The group has been issuing the list since 1995. Of the buildings called out for preservation each year, a third of the properties have been saved, less than a quarter have been demolished, and the rest remain up in the air. Half of this year’s list falls in the Chicago area, including Jens Jensens’ Camp Algonquin in suburban McHenry County. The 116-acre camp along the Fox River was established in 1907 but closed in 2011 amid financial difficulties. Its 47 buildings are in various states of disrepair and many are slated for demolition. In March, State Senator Pam Althoff introduced two bills to fund their rehabilitation. Downstate properties include Hotel Belleville, a 1931 Art Deco building on Belleville, Illinois’ town square. The city, about 16 miles southeast of St. Louis, recently issued a Request for Proposals for the redevelopment of the building. Read more about the 10 historic places on Landmarks Illinois’ website:
  1. Camp Algonquin
  2. Central Manufacturing District 
  3. Halsted and Willow Gateway 
  4. Hamilton Primary School 
  5. Hotel Belleville 
  6. McAuley Schoolhouse 
  7. Old Millstadt Water Tower 
  8. Robertson Building
  9. Uptown Theatre 
  10. U.S. Marine Hospital 
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On View> “On the Thresholds of Space-Making” at Washington University in St. Louis

On the Thresholds of Space-Making Sam Fox School, Washington University One Brookings Drive St. Louis, Missouri Through April 20 The work of Shinohara Kazuo (1925–2006), one of Japan’s most influential architects of the postwar generation, is surveyed in On the Thresholds of Space-Making. Shinohara gained popularity as an architect with his series of sublime purist houses designed over a thirty-year period that went through the 1980s. Shinohara scrutinized and reframed fundamental architectural conventions, such as public/private, body/space, and openness/enclosure. This exhibition contains original drawings and sketches that have rarely been seen outside of Japan. These drawings are enhanced by photographs of finished works and scaled models of imagined architecture. A featured work is Shinohara’s House in White (1964–66), in which he rearranges a familiar design palette—a square plan, a pointed roof, white walls, and a symbolic pillar—to give the main room almost oceanic spaciousness. His work has a poetic quality that combines simplicity and surprise. Also showcased in the exhibition is the enduring legacy of Shinohara’s work through projects by younger Japanese architects whom he influenced, including Toyo Ito (b. 1941); Ryue Nishizawa (b. 1966) of the firm SANAA; and Jun’ya Ishigami (b. 1974).
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Ten Roads Whose Time Has Come: Congress for the New Urbanism Releases List of Freeways Ripe for Removal

highways_to_boulevards_2 The Congress for the New Urbanism has released their annual list of Freeways Without Futures. The organization selected the top 10 urban American (and one Canadian) highways most in need of removal. The final list was culled from nominations from more than 50 cities. Criteria for inclusion included age of the freeway, the potential that removal would have to positively effect the areas where the roadways are currently situated, and the amount of momentum to realize such removals. Additionally the CNU highlighted campaigns in Dallas, the Bronx, Pasadena, Buffalo, and Niagra Falls, that are taking significant steps towards removing freeways (some of which have been included in past lists) as illustrations of broader institutional and political shifts on urban infrastructural thinking. I-10/Claiborne Overpass - New Orleans The already aging Interstate 10 was heavily damaged in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina. The Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP) suggested that the removal of the elevated portion of the highway would allow for the reclamation of 35 to 40 city blocks and 20 to 25 blocks of open space. With the help of public engagement Livable Claiborne Communities outlined a plan for a similar removal that would improve living conditions in the neighborhood in the immediate vicinity of the expressway. I-81 - Syracuse This road, including an elevated portion that runs through downtown Syracuse, was built in the 60's. Advocates for the transformation of the most urban portion of the freeway could be replaced by a boulevard that would connect neighborhoods, inject economic activity into the area, and be cheaper to maintain. Numerous local politicians have spoken in favor of such a plan and the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) co-led the I-81 Challenge to examine traffic patterns and alternatives to the current state of the highway. Gardiner Expressway - Toronto Unpopular with local citizens, the overworked Expressway requires more than $10 million annually in repairs. Recently, the City of Toronto and WATERFRONToronto finished work on the Gardiner Expressway & Lake Shore Boulevard Reconfiguration Environmental Assessment & Urban Design Study which will dictate the future of the portion of the Gardiner overlooking Lake Ontario. Route 5/Skyway - Buffalo The Skyway Bridge and Route 5 mar public views of the Buffalo River, diminish land values, and create a web of confusing traffic patterns predicated on inefficient one-way streets. The Department of Transportation rates the Skyway bridge as "fracture critical" while the Federal Highway Administration classifies the bridge as "functionally obsolete." It is likely to cost more than $50 million to maintain over the next two decades. Inner Loop - Rochester The Loop was built for the city Rochester once was, rather than the shrunken metropolis that stands today. For this reason much of the beltway carries traffic that could easily be carried by a urban avenue. Furthermore it constricts the downtown area, inhibiting development and isolating adjacent neighborhoods. In 2012 the city was awarded a USDOT TIGER grant to replace the eastern portion of the Loop with a two lane boulevard flanked by street parking. I-70 - St. Louis I-70 separates the city from the waterfront of the Mississippi River and Saarinen's iconic arch. Calls for bridging this divide by converting the expressway into an urban boulevard have been long simmering. Park Over The Highway is a $380 million project for a park and pedestrian and bike path that leaps I-70 in connecting the city to the area abutting the river. I-280 - San Francisco Meant to be part of a larger web of freeways that was ultimately halted by mid-century protests, the removal of this highway stub would increase the land values of the area by $80 million according to a report by Fourth and King Street Railyards. Replacing the strip with a urban boulevard would open the area for further redevelopment and allow for greater fluidity between neighborhoods. The city's Center for Architecture + Design has hosted a design competition for such a project. I-375 - Detroit This 1.06 mile strip served to divide portions of the city and contributed to the isolation and subsequent decay of once thriving black neighborhoods. Detroit's drop in population has lead to a 13% decrease in usage since 2009. In December of 2013, Detroit's Downtown Development Authority moved forward with alternative plans for the highway, with particular focus on converting the road into a more pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare. Terminal Island Freeway - Long Beach As it stands the freeway currently serves a mere 14,000 vehicles a day, numbers that could drop further if plans to expand the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility come to fruition, a development that would redirect significant freight traffic in the area. Local nonprofit urban design studio City Fabrick have spear-headed a movement to convert the road into a greenbelt that would act as a buffer between residential districts and industrial port infrastructure. In 2013 the plan was awarded a Caltrans grant. Aetna Viaduct - Hartford This 3/4 mile stretch of elevated expressway was completed in 1965. In running directly through downtown Hartford the Viaduct destroyed historic architecture, public spaces, and severed inter-community links once easily traversed by foot. Initially set for costly re-surfacing that would increase its lifespan by 20 years, new plans are being considered for the heavily-trafficked road. Hartford officials and Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) are currently considering plans to re-align nearby rail tracks that would open 15-20 acres of nearby land for redevelopment.
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“Sculpture City” Invites Dialogue On Public Art in St. Louis

It’s open season for public art in St. Louis, according to the groups behind Sculpture City St. Louis 2014—an ongoing festival “intended to draw attention to the rich presence sculpture has in the visual landscape of our region.” The programming leads up to and continues after an April conference. Art exhibitions throughout the year aim to continue the conversation. For instance, Art of Its Own Making, a show at the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts that features sculpture, installation, film, and performance works through August 20. St. Louis Sculpture City showcases public art, sculpture, and design throughout the year, before and after its April 10–12 conference “Monument / Anti-Monument,” which will encourage dialogue about art and public life. A full list of the shows and events that make up the ongoing examination of public art is available on the group's website. Non-profit institutions, for-profit enterprises, and government/civic art programs with programming within 100 miles of downtown St. Louis during 2014 can submit their program to Sculpture City St. Louis, which may list them on their website. St. Louis is a fitting place for the topic. From the two-block sculpture park dubbed CityGarden to plans for a revamped park at the base of the Gateway Arch, it’s a busy time for public space in St. Louis.
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On View> “Takeshi Murata: Melter 2” at the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis

Takeshi Murata: Melter 2 Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis 3750 Washington Road, Saint Louis, MO Through April 27 New York–based artist Takeshi Murata will be transforming the facade of the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis through the installation of Melter 2. Created in 2003, the playful piece of video is being enlarged from its original form in order to fit the museum’s 62-by-18-foot metal facade. Melter 2 is reflective of the vibrant and psychedelic animations that have formed a major component of Murata’s practice. Its colorful floral forms that seem to melt and fuse over the course of the video will be visible once night falls through April 27. The work is the second in the museum’s ongoing series of expansive video-art installations, Street Views.
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St. Louis Architect Wants Public Art for Public Health

One St. Louis architect thinks his city’s public art needs a shot in the arm. Michael Jantzen says public art should further public health, and his work—interactive designs replete with solar film and meant to encourage exercise—shows how. Not that the Gateway Arch has lost its luster—the Eero Saarinen landmark stills makes millions of dollars in tourist revenue each year and is the subject of a $380 million redesign—but as Jantzen told the Daily Riverfront Times, its value is largely aesthetic:

The whole purpose of the Arch was to generate tourism, which it did very successfully here, to say the least … A lot of architecture and art projects that are being built and have been built, their prime function is to get people to come to the city and look at them—not unlike the Arch.

Jantzen, who moved to St. Louis from Carlyle, Illinois to attend Washington University, has a few ideas for public art that break the mold. His projects include a glass and steel bridge that changes shape according to its users and a massive waterwheel meant to harvest the energy of the Mississippi River’s current.
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Video> Jennifer Steinkamp Turns the St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum Inside Out

Digital artist Jennifer Steinkamp’s first installation in a series at St. Louis’ Contemporary Art Museum is up and running, transforming the museum’s facade into a projection screen for large-scale video art. Steinkamp’s installation, Orbit, features trees, vines, and other plants whipped up by turbulent windAN brought you images from the work back in October, but take a look at the newest video of the project below.