The DNA sponsored charrette this past Saturday was a great success in allowing our members to express their views for what they wish to see incorporated into the redesigned Kiener Plaza. If you wish to add your thoughts to the ones below, simply email them to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, December 19.
V Three Sudios, LLC. consolidated our thoughts into the text below.
Resulting from the Charrette for Kiener Plaza on Saturday, 5 Crucial Points Emerged:
1. Open Green Lawn
2. Multi-functional Shaded Perimeter
3. Civic Space
4. Respecting Original Donors
5. Who will Program Events and Maintain the Plaza
Open Green Lawn
One of the major concerns that was brought to attention in the discussions of Kiener Plaza is how will this plaza be activated, what will grab people to come here? During the charrette people voiced their opinion that downtown St. Louis has too much hardscapes and lacks green spaces to accommodate its users. A solution would be to design a large open green lawn that acts as an amphitheater centered on the plaza with permanent stage structure. The amphitheater will face west to create signature views with the Old Court House and the Gateway Arch as a backdrop to the audience views. This creates a gathering hot spot for performances including live concerts, theater performances, political gatherings…etc. When not used as a performance venue, the green lawn becomes an open park for people to rest, play, yoga…etc.
Note: The cost for temporary staging is cost prohibitive for many events.
Multi-functional Shaded Perimeter
The shaded perimeter design of the plaza focuses on the city that surrounds. A heavily landscaped perimeter consisting of native tree and plant species becomes an intimate boundary and an inviting entry element to the open lawn and also creates a shade canopy for hot months of the year. A diverse range of programmed spaces fit within this perimeter. Electrical & Plumbing Hookups should be in place for food trucks or food carts. Ideas discussed for program around the perimeter include temporary event tents, cafe tables, chess tables, charging stations, visitor’s center or kiosks, bike parking with a potential bike sharing station, and tour bus drop off and pick up lanes.
Being an extension of the Old Court House lawn and on axis to the Gateway Arch, it is important to recognize that the new design of Kiener Plaza should respect the civic nature of the iconic symbols that surround the plaza.
Respecting Original Donors
The most recognizable and highly photographed element of this plaza is the Running Man statue donated by the Kiener Family and fountain which sits center of the Old Court House and the Gateway Arch. The issue with the current fountain is that the large radius that surrounds the statue not only takes up a large piece of real estate but also pushes its users towards the sides of the plaza. The new design will propose to keep the Running Man in axis with the Old Court House and the Gateway Arch but to push it closer to the Old Court House and have the statue placed on a narrow linear fountain. This will still allow for desired views of the stature to be centered to the Old Court House and Arch and allow users to interact closer to the statue.
Morton May felt passionate about a public performance space in that space and donated the funds to build the current amphitheater. A fresh and modernized amphitheater in the plaza will honor Mr. May and create a much for functional event space.
Who will Program Events and Maintain the Plaza
Active management and maintenance of the public space is critical to making this plaza a successful year-round event space. Who will manage the event space and program year- round events and what will the yearly funding cover in terms of management? No need to overdesign for something that will not be given the proper attention and support.