Arch Grounds Design Competition Gets Started: First Thoughts From the Urban Workshop

Given the status (or non-status) of my design portfolio and the work history (or non-history) of the Urban Workshop elves I think it unlikely that we'll be selected for the "short list" of design teams selected to participate in phase II of the Arch grounds design competition process. But that doesn't mean we can't add to the public discussion.

The professional design teams will undoubtedly produce excellent work, but there's a lot of creativity out there that will be missed if more of us do not put ideas to paper. In fact, the Urban Workshop will post your ideas here if you send them in.

The 10 design goals of the competition program are stated as follows:
1. Create an iconic place for the international icon, the Gateway Arch.
2. Catalyze increased vitality in the St. Louis region.
3. Honor the character defining elements of the National Historic Landmark.
4. Weave connections and transitions from the City and the Arch grounds to the
5. Embrace the Mississippi River and the east bank in Illinois as an integral part of
the National Park.
6. Reinvigorate the mission to tell the story of St. Louis as the gateway to national
7. Create attractors to promote extended visitation to the Arch, the City and the River.
8. Mitigate the impact of transportation systems.
9. Develop a sustainable future.
10. Enhance the visitor experience and create a welcoming and accessible

"Catalyzing increased vitality" is a fairly meaningless development buzz phrase, but there are great intentions here. I hope to work more on some kind of proposal in the near future, but the following (in no particular order) outlines a number issues or ideas I plan to incorporate.

  • Light the Eads Bridge
  • Remove I-70
  • Place 4-lane Memorial Drive on west side of current I-70, add on-street parking
  • Introduce retail and commercial properties to east of new Memorial Drive
  • Continue Spruce Street to Memorial Drive with pedestrian access to Arch
  • Create shadow image of Arch on ground to the west to highlight height of Arch
  • Reduce 4th Street from 6 lanes to 4
  • Reduce Broadway from 5 lanes to 4
  • Convert Market and Chestnut to two-way streets
  • Place modern and past barges on waterfront as museum free to the public
  • Mark a 1-mile walking path on Arch grounds – approximately 1 lap

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Park Design Competition Manual


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