"Learning Landscapes," a project of CityStudioSTL, is the recipient of a 2012 Built: Merit Award from the St. Louis Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). The annual awards recognize the achievements of local practitioners and institutions.
As part of a spring 2011 studio, WU architecture students and faculty collaborated with community members to finish work on a 10,000-square-foot outdoor classroom and playscape for Patrick Henry Academy, a historic elementary school located in St. Louis' Columbus Square neighborhood.
"It's rare that students build their studio designs," says Forrest Fulton, visiting assistant professor of architecture, who led the class of 16. "It's even more rare that students' built work is recognized with an award that honors excellent professional design.
Situated on what had been a cracking asphalt lot, the completed landscape features a series of gardens coined "Learning Landscapes," which support the school's mission of sustainable education.
A major emphasis of the project was the incorporation of sustainable practices such as on-site storm water retention, locally grown foods, and native drought-tolerant plantings, all of which serve as "green" teaching tools for Patrick Henry students. The new landscape also has improved the overall streetscape of the neighborhood, providing a quality public space for community members.
"The project was well-designed, well-constructed, and worthy of recognition," says lecturer Jim Fetterman, FASLA, who submitted "Learning Landscapes" on behalf of CityStudioSTL. "The award validates WUSTL's ongoing commitment to the community, in addition to recognizing the students' hard work and collaboration."
This spring, CityStudioSTL is back in Columbus Square, where Fulton and students are building on the relationships established by "Learning Landscapes." For more information about the spring 2011 project, read this news story.
CityStudioSTL is an initiative inspired by Design for Excellence, the Sam Fox School's 10-year strategic plan. Offered in partnership with Washington University's Skandalaris Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, this program will support a series of community engagement and outreach projects in the city of St. Louis over the next five years. To learn more about the initiative, click here.