10,000 sunflowers help rehab a vacant lot in St. Louis

As part of Washington University's Land Lab program, a vacant lot in St. Louis was made into a sunflower field. (Richard Reilly)

As part of Washington University’s Land Lab program, a vacant lot in St. Louis was made into a sunflower field. (Richard Reilly)

On a long-abandoned lot in St. Louis’ near north side, 10,000 sunflowers are sucking up the heavy metals that have helped stall development there for “longer than neighbors care to remember,” reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The project is called Sunflower+. It’s one of the winners of St. Louis’ inaugural “Sustainable Land Lab” competition, which was organized by Washington University in St. Louis and city officials. Over the next two years, the design team will cultivate and harvest four rotations of summer sunflowers and winter wheat on the vacant lot, hopefully preparing it for redevelopment in the future.

Continue reading after the jump.

The 11 most endangered historic sites in the United States according to theNational Trust

Photo by North Bend Eric

A mural inside Cincinnati’s Union Terminal. (Eric Bend)

The Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave captured the eye of American audiences last year, but it may have also had an unforeseen effect on historic preservation. It appears that the National Trust for Historic Preservation was watching as well. The Trust has issued its annual list of the 11 most endangered historic places in the United States, which featured the slave trading center where the film’s protagonist, Solomon Northrup, was held and captured.

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

"Baseball in DeSoto Park" by St. Louis' Pruitt-Igoe housing development. (Via Michael Allen / Flickr)

“Baseball in DeSoto Park” by St. Louis’ Pruitt-Igoe housing development. (Via Michael Allen / Flickr)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

On View> Inside the Palace of Fine Arts: Cosmopolitanism at the 1904 World’s Fair

Art, Midwest, On View
Thursday, June 26, 2014
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(Courtesy Kemper Art Museum)

(Courtesy Kemper Art Museum)

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.

St. Louis Exhibition Explores Street Design in Grand Center Arts District

(Great Streets Project: Grand Center)

(Great Streets Project: Grand Center)

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.” Read More

Friday> Freecell & Pulitzer Foundation turn a vacant lot in St. Louis into a parade of public programs

Conceptual rendering of Lots at the PXSTL site  Image. (Freecell Architecture via Pulitzer Foundation)

Conceptual rendering of Lots at the PXSTL site. (Freecell Architecture via Pulitzer Foundation)

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.”

Continue reading after the jump.

Letter to the Editor> Let There Be Light

The site could become part of the Grand Center arts and culture district. (Courtesy Gluckman Mayner)

The site could become part of the Grand Center arts and culture district. (Courtesy Gluckman Mayner)

[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.

Continue reading after the jump.

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On View> “On the Thresholds of Space-Making” at Washington University in St. Louis

Midwest, On View
Thursday, March 27, 2014
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Shinohara Kazuo, Great room (hiroma), House in White, Suginami Ward, Tokyo, 1964‐66. (Murai Osamu / Courtesy Tokyo Institute of Technology)

Shinohara Kazuo, Great room (hiroma), House in White, Suginami Ward, Tokyo, 1964‐66. (Murai Osamu / Courtesy Tokyo Institute of Technology)

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.

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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

Detroit's I-375 made the list.

Detroit’s I-375 made the list. (gab482/flickr)

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.

The dubious list after the jump.

“Sculpture City” Invites Dialogue On Public Art in St. Louis

Midwest
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
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St. Louis' Gateway Arch under construction. (Courtesy Missouri State Archives)

St. Louis’ Gateway Arch under construction. (Courtesy Missouri State Archives)

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.

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On View> “Takeshi Murata: Melter 2″ at the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis

Art, Midwest, On View
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
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(Courtesy Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis)

(Courtesy 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.

St. Louis Architect Wants Public Art for Public Health

Midwest
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
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The "Space-Time Transformation Footbridge"  is coated with a photovoltaic film to generate electricity to power shape changes and light the bridge at night. (Michael Jantzen)

The “Space-Time Transformation Footbridge” is coated with a photovoltaic film to generate electricity to power shape changes and light the bridge at night. (Michael Jantzen)

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.

Continue reading after the jump.

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