St. Louis eco-BLOCK™

The eco-BLOCK™ is a strategy designed for resiliency, incorporating passive design strategies and utilizing a form-based code [define] to create a cohesive character and eco-parameters for development. Each block is intended to include mixed-use components, which might include live-work units, intergenerational housing, and single- and multi-family residential units, as well as commercial and neighborhood services. Each block aims to achieve Net Positive Energy Water and Waste, and provide for car optional urban living.

For this spring 2016 undergraduate architecture options studio led by senior lecturer Don Koster, the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group, a local community development corporation serving Old North St. Louis, identified a test block within the community for the development of an eco-BLOCK™ prototype. Old North served as an ideal testing ground, because after many decades of population loss, residents have begun moving back into this neighborhood. Other proposed infrastructure improvements, including a proposed transit line, will hopefully connect the already walkable neighborhood to nearby downtown St. Louis. The selected block is vacant except for two occupied buildings, providing an opportunity to study how to best integrate existing structures into new development proposals.
Final concepts and models were exhibited during the Old North St. Louis Home Tour in early May, where students were able to further engage interested residents, developers, and city officials in an increasingly informed dialogue about the viability and merits of this redevelopment model.

The following students participated in this course: Carmen Caldwell, Rylie Davis, Haley Elliott, Sunny Feinstein, Mason Herleth, Lorraine Kung, Amanda Lages de Lima, Joseph Palmer, Ethan Poh, Fisher Ream, and Megan Simmons.

Community Partners:
Urban eco-Block
Old North St. Louis Restoration Group

Learn more about the studio here.