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This is the first in a short series of ideas to be posted that focus on the St. Louis Zoo’s potential new expansion zone at the former site of the Forest Park Hospital.

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One thought on “Zoo South Campus- #1

  1. Guys, I don’t understand your objectives. This land needs to be used for the zoo to build all their dense urban functions into that can’t be built in the park. That’s offices and retail, for sure, but also a research library, storage, and an education facility like MoBot’s old pasta factory. The land should also be used to make the corner of Dogtown into a pedestrian friendly area connected to the park. And, very importantly, it should brand the Hampton exit as belonging to the zoo.

    If CORTEX is expanded along Oakland, it means animal science incubators, laboratory spaces, and lots of non-residential use. If school buses are gathered and stored there and children are walking in mobs from that space, then it means large plazas and paths.

    Instead of your corner building, I imagine something more like Singapore’s ION (http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4047/4316672652_3a5493510f.jpg), with the tree/stick pillars replaced by elephant trunks or giraffes or something, a huge animal themed gateway at the corner that invites pedestrians into the zoo’s Dogtown campus and implies safe walking across Hampton as an essential part of the zoo experience. Significantly it would also further signal the zoo’s presence to those driving down below on the never-to-be-removed highway. I understand the desire for a neighborhoody sort of structure, like the Woolworth building, but the highway and Hampton need to be tamed my something less understated. Put the neighborhoody stuff where you’ve designated a parking lot. Make the corner into a landmark.

    I would argue that Clayton is far more the way to walk to Tamm than down Oakland and back up. Remember there’s a brewery coming to Clayton soon. I’d much rather see the edges of the zoo space built out and the center left open as a landscaped plaza like those throughout the zoo’s Forest Park campus. Put the parking in the parking garage(s). Or put the parking where you’ve designated residences, at least in the short term.

    I like the condo image, but I don’t understand what the zoo would get from building homes other than money, once. Make the condo proposal look more like MoBot’s Trelease House (where the Chinese Artisans have been staying and where visiting botanists usually reside), and make the site work for the zoo in a way that benefits the neighborhood. This office park proposal seems driven by residential concerns without too much consideration of the zoo’s needs or reasons for purchasing the land in the first place.

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