Stoss Landscape Urbanism is leading a 13-firm team creating the new Chouteau Greenway Framework Plan for St. Louis. The framework plan consists of a series of geographic, equity, economic, architectural, programming, art and design guidelines that will serve as the master plan for projects. As winners of the competition, the team is exploring how to incorporate connection, inclusion, and joy along the Greenway.
As Stoss explains, St. Louis is struggling to become a connected city, along with facing significant equity, economic and urban renewal challenges. These complex issues are the focus of the framework plan for the Chouteau Greenway, and the plan brings together a team team of designers, architects, artists, economists, activists and engineers. Through the initial impetus for the competition was to connect St. Louis’ Forest Park with the famous Gateway Arch, the winning team proposed the ‘The Loop + The Stitch’, which linked these iconic open spaces with north/south spurs that added connections to Fairground and Tower Grove Park—making investments in African-American neighborhoods that have suffered from decades of disinvestment.
The plan connects 17 city neighborhoods linking parks, business and arts districts, transit corridors, and cultural/educational institutions. Recently released and funded in part by the Great Rivers Greenway (GRG), the plan is the culmination of an international competition launched in 2017 by GRG and a subsequent year-long planning and design effort. The design team's mission is to intentionally highlight a network of embedded histories, discovered and undiscovered, bringing them to the forefront of the greenway.
While the project activates key existing amenities within St. Louis, it purposefully focuses attention on forgotten civic spaces like the Griot Museum of Black History at St. Louis Place, and the historic Mill Creek Valley, a vibrant African American community erased in the creation of a freeway overpass. These catalyst sites contain unique landscape opportunities and architectural details like the vast reflecting pools that memorialize the lost foundational structures of Mill Creek Valley. Given an explicit goal of connecting people, the planning process involved executive committee oversight, working groups, civic engagement and an interdisciplinary design process. Local touchstones are informed by local artists, Damon Davis, De Nichols, Mallory Neezam, and the Artists of Color Council.
The design team articulated a design toolkit of paving patterns, benching, lighting and sculptural beacons that provide a cohesive template for future development. Elemental paving patterns take the rolling form of arches, rock and cave-like shapes that provide an iconography that is expressed in forms like “the stoop”. In turn, the planting strategy is intentionally varied. Four ecologies are highlighted: upland, prairie, wetland and cultivated moments where food production can be experienced. The framework plan strives to increase walkability and vibrancy throughout neighborhoods, to bridge geographical and cultural divides, to incentivize greater social and economic equity, and to deeply engage and reflect the diversity of cultures that exist in the city.
View the Chouteau Greenway Framework Plan
Stoss Landscape Urbanism
Lamar Johnson Collaborative
Marlon Blackwell Architects
Damon Davis / Heart Ache + Paint
De Nichols / Civic Creatives
Mallory Nezam / Joy + Justice LLC
David Mason and Associates
Tillett Lighting Design
Bruce Mau Design
News via Stoss Landscape Urbanism