Old North St. Louis

Fall classes began August 24, at Iowa State. I’m now in my fourth year of the architecture professional degree program in the College of Design. As expected, it was a quick transition back into managing workloads of classes, studio, and my job at CyRide.

Our studio this semester focuses on community based design and urban revitalization. The project is for a “community arts collaborative,” a hybrid of arts-related programs, education, community center, and live/work residential units for artists. The project site is in the Old North neighborhood in St. Louis, which is laden with empty lots and decaying buildings, but benefits from a strong community base. Neighborhood improvements are being spearheaded by the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, and the Urban Studio. Our project is not exactly “real” or for a real client, but we will be meeting with residents and neighborhood groups who are interested in our proposals.

Tomorrow we are traveling to St. Louis for five days to visit the site, meet with neighbors, and see what else the city has to offer. This field trip and project will be an interesting contrast to all previous ones, with a site context and city that has experienced extensive decay. The figure ground shown was helpful for context research and programming proposals we have been working on the first few weeks.