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Design Fridays: Meet Me in St. Louis

August 20, 2010

The picture above is from the St. Louis Arch International Design Competition. The city of St. Louis and the National Parks are sponsoring a competition to reimagine the surrounding Gateway Park.
 
I've never been to St. Louis, but when I see the arch I think of Lewis and Clark, westward exploration, and ingenuity. The fact that Jefferson would sponsor a trip across the US territories is astounding, along the same lines as the space race. Of course it goes right along with Manifest Destiny, and all the negative and positive associations with that. But Lewis and Clark seemed like good guys. Like well meaning people who did the best they could with what they had. They were no heartless conquistadors, they were in some ways intellectuals. I think of their good fortune in meeting Sacagawea, and all sorts of other luck that spared their lives. So to me the arch sums up all the hopefullness of an early nation and people who felt it important to explore and study and learn.
 
There are five finalists for the Gateway Park competition and the pictures above are from the Weiss/Manfredi team, my favorite I think. I like how the architecture along the foot bridge and along Washington Avenue seems to echo the original design of the arch. But a lot of the other designs are beautifully imagined as well.
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