CHAIR (The Campus for Human and Animal Interaction Research)
With the acquisition of the old Forest Park Hospital site, the St. Louis Zoo has transitioned from seclusion in Forest Park to an integral member of the urban fabric. As such, there is great opportunity to form new bonds with neighboring communities and evolve the Zoo’s mission. Since St. Louis and the Zoo are growing bioresearch programs, this development has the potential to elevate the growing industry.
Great opportunity presents itself when considering the potential to explore environments where humans and animals coalesce. The CHAIR (The Campus for Human and Animal Interaction Research) concept establishes a complex for research on the reciprocal relationships between humans and animals in order to forge resilient communities of the future. With an emphasis on water ecosystems, due to of the location of St. Louis in one of the largest watersheds in the world, CHAIR brings unique aquatic related experiences. These are both educational and amusing. Through multiple HD LED columns, interactive exhibits and constructed habitats, visitors can see the research that will guide us to amazing new urban environments. In visiting the CHAIR campus, people can learn of need for interaction with animals and grasp roles needed to ensure coexistence with them in positive ways.
The CHAIR concept envisions a new campus for the Zoo, while utilizing development patterns that strengthen urban form, provide new scientific and economic possibilities for the site and beyond, and build on surrounding infrastructure. A local shuttle connecting the St. Louis Zoo, the campus, ‘downtown Dogtown’, and existing Metro bus services will facilitate visitor and local citizen connectivity. With a new zoo themed boutique hotel, human/animal interaction facilities and retail, the site will generate greater excitement towards the Zoo, St. Louis, Dogtown and other neighboring communities. Such development prospects exemplify a strengthened relationship between the Zoo and communities both local and regional.