This project was selected as a winner in the 67th Annual Progressive Architecture Awards, and was featured in the March 2020 issue of ARCHITECT.
“With this urban strategy, they are trying to break through invisible boundaries that have been put in place by exploitative mortgage practices. I want the discipline to be reckoning with these types of things.” —juror Ann Lui
The Chouteau Greenway Framework Plan is the work of Stoss Landscape Urbanism, created in conjunction with a multidisciplinary team. The integrated approach was all but necessary given the very daunting brief, to create corridors of parkland in St. Louis that connect four existing green spaces located several miles from one another: the famed Gateway Arch grounds on the Mississippi riverfront, the city’s sprawling Forest Park to the west, Fairground Park to the north, and Tower Grove Park to the south. The Stoss team’s plan achieves that objective and a great deal more—tying together not only the four sites but 20 adjacent neighborhoods to forge a remarkable new urban constellation.
The concept’s title, “The Loop + The Stitch,” gives some sense of the solution: The plan attempts to knit a city that has been fractured by inequity and divided by redlining together again with a series of greenways. These connectors sprout from a central spine along Chouteau Avenue—one of the city’s primary but least pedestrian-friendly arteries. Native plantings, street furniture, lighting, wayfinding, and recreational amenities activate the spine and its assorted spokes, channeling movement between the four sites and encouraging foot traffic through the surrounding areas, reconnecting once-isolated communities.
No less important than its trees, plants, and playgrounds, the design also provides space for artworks and interpretative materials that will reflect the history of the city and its people, giving visitors and locals alike a showcase of St. Louis’s vibrant culture and complicated history. Crucially, in a refreshing break from major park projects in other American cities, Stoss’s Chouteau Greenway is not primarily geared for residents already benefiting from more than adequate public space and city services. Winding through poor and rich neighborhoods alike, “The Loop + The Stitch” grapples with the city’s history to create a common ground for all St. Louisans, reconnecting them to their past and to each other.
Project: Chouteau Greenway Framework Plan, St. Louis
Client: Great Rivers Greenway
Project Lead: Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Boston . Chris Reed (design director); Joonyon Kim (designer-in-charge); Gillian Hutchison (project manager); Lisa Hollywood (assistant project manager); Elaine Stokes (senior designer); Albert Chen, Difei Ma, Grace Jiranuntarat; Han Yu, Rawan Al-Saffar, Sonny Xu, William Baumgardner (designers)
Project Team: Stoss Landscape Urbanism (lead/prime); UrbanAC/Toni L. Griffin; Lamar Johnson Collaborative; ALTA; Marlon Blackwell Architects; Damon Davis / Heart Ache + Paint; De Nichols/Civic Creatives; Mallory Nezam/Joy + Justice; David Mason + Associates; HR&A Advisors; Lochmueller Group; DJM Ecological Services; Tillett Lighting Design Associates; Bruce Mau Design