client: danforth foundation
Spanning three city blocks and linking two vibrant city attractions, the Grounds Connector is an integral but unfinished component of Eero Saarinen’s vision for the St. Louis Arch. This missing link can be partially blamed for the disconnect between a stressed downtown and a popular monument that draws 4 million visitors per year.
Following an international outreach, Thomas Balsley Associates was commissioned to complete Saarinen’s 20th century modernist vision with a 21st century landscape and urban design approach. Extensive historical, urban design and site specific research informed a series of conceptual design studies, each revealing dramatic new ways to introduce Arch visitors to downtown St. Louis. All included covering the sunken interstate highway and the “pedestrianization” of the flanking Memorial Boulevard.
The passage and pauses have been carefully conceived as celebrations of the diversity of contemporary urban life and include landscape narratives on the Jefferson Expansion and Lewis and Clark Expedition. Great lawns for celebrations, daily civic gatherings, cafes, interpretive kiosks, interactive fountains, distinctive paving and native plantings have been composed into a distinctive and memorable landscape worthy of its designer and the rich contemporary heritage of the Arch.
Merit Award – ASLA NY
Merit Award – ASLA St. Louis