Site: St. Louis, MO, US
Status: Conceptual Design
Client: Grand Center Inc. with St. Louis University, Scottish Rite, Nine Network, Sheldon, Pulitzer Arts Foundation and Contemporary Art Museum
The Art Walk project is a stitched landscape that joins several art and media institutions in Grand Center. The current condition of Grand Center allows few moments of connectivity and sense of continuity between urban spaces. In addition, the project addresses the question of ‘what is art’ by establishing the position that art surrounds us in the phenomena of our built and natural environment. By evoking a heightened sense of the site (subtle sounds of the wind, presence of the sky, partial views of facades, sense of the topography and seasonal changes) the Art Walk encourages pedestrians to be observers and interface with the uniqueness of each urban room along the Art Walk. The distinction between institutions comes through in the programming of these external spaces. The architecture responds to the beauty and challenges of the varied building façades. At a smaller scale, several moments along the Art Walk path were identified as situations deploying urban characters (for example, telescopes, wind devices, lighting elements, rain-water collectors). The urban characters are part architecture, art, and industrial design elements. They interface with landscape strategies to engage the public in multiple scales of activity. In addition to devices on the site, the landscape design engages metaphoric floating gardens of varying character with the pathway solidifying connections between.
The project is divided into four multi-cultured zones that are currently separated by parking lots, pedestrian inaccessible easements, and gated buildings.