Art Center in North St. Louis

In this comprehensive spring 2016 options studio, visiting professor Jan Ulmer led a group of graduate architecture students in developing concepts that explored questions of display in spaces that allow a wide range of community members to experience and enjoy art. Students explored opportunities for radical adaptive reuse of the vacant Mullanphy Emigrant Home in Old North St. Louis as a visual and performing arts space for the nonprofit organization UrbArts. UrbArts is a nonprofit organization that believes that empowering artists will uplift communities, and provide opportunities for marginalized artists and youth.Concepts sought to challenge what the 149-year-old building and space could become, and provide inspiration for an UrbArts campaign to acquire and redevelop the building.

Students also dealt with outdoor spaces—including gardens, performance spaces, and space for other activities—as they considered ways for the building to be a “lighthouse” for the neighborhood and St. Louis.

Final conceptual designs were presented to UrbArts’ stakeholders, inspiring new ideas for the space. These included proposed additions to the building, cantilevered exhibition spaces, outdoor performance venues, and new views and beacons that highlight Old North St. Louis as a destination. The final boards were displayed at UrbArts’ gallery, and will serve as a starting point for future efforts to acquire and renovate the building.

The following students participated in this course: Juanchu Chai, Yuwen Huang, Qianru Jiao, Yiwei Li, Xinzhi Pan, Kaiwen Xie, Xiaoling Xu, Mingjing Yang, Yuwei Yang, Bin Yuan, Chenming Zhang, and Kun Zhong.

Community Partners:
UrbArts
Old North St. Louis Restoration Group

Learn more about the studio here.