Production of Ecology
Drawings speculating on a significant site in Downtown St. Louis
A proposal for an 'Urban Ranger' training program and a central 'range' for experimental ecological projects in the city
Vacant sites ought to constitute a public commons. Currently, vacant parcels in St. Louis are maintained merely to reduce liability and remain prepared for redevelopment. On an emblematic site at the end of the Gateway Mall opposite Dan Kiley and Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch park, I studied processes and possibilities to reframe urban land as a public resource.
I am proposing an Urban Ranger Training Program for St. Louis. The Rangers study vacant parcels and curate the evolutive processes already occurring in urban landscapes. In partnership with artists, designers, and conservation managers, the Rangers reframe, make access to, and manage sites to maximize ecological richness.
I discovered intensities in the flow of water, history of soil dumping, and the potential to manage the site with fire. I identified overlaps of intensities to be studied further. By cutting the architecture into the landscape at the intersections, the buildings mark the site’s evolution and become like a rhizome in a web of ecological production.
Each building is an Urban Ranger facility that doubles as a beacon for public interaction in the site. For the Rangers, the architecture is an office, a meeting place, a seed bank, or a shed. At the same time, the project invites a public to pass through and discover the dynamic, ever-changing landscape. Chance encounters emerge through the process of subtracting building form; passers by are confronted with nonhuman agents in the productive gaps between building and land.