A community-centered intervention in the West End Neighborhood for the purple martin bird
Academic project Washington University in St. Louis
ARCH 312 / Spring 2019
Critic: Jacqueline Margetts
ASLA St. Louis Chapter Award of Excellence
Birds are a charming yet vital component of biodiversity within the urban realm. This intervention is designed specifically to encourage the purple martin, a bird species that prefers human-made habitats, to nest within the West End neighborhood of St. Louis, MO.
The Hodiamont Tracks Greenway is a new community initiative that replaces the old Hodiamont Tracks streetcar railway, catalyzing a series of efforts to reinvigorate the underserved neighborhood, including connectivity to amenities, well-designed public open spaces, and community-engaging activities along the new greenway.
Birdscape, located at a narrow site chosen between the Kipp Victory Academy and Hylton Point Senior Home, serves as an activation node of ecological and social interactions. A pathway connecting the greenway, lined with strikingly-designed martin birdhouses, is a corridor for engagement betweeen humans and the sociable purple martin birds. Underneath is a bioswale that gradually widens into a Pickerelweed wetland pond adjacent to the greenway, retaining and filtering excess stormwater runoff.
The formal layout of the intervention between an elementary school and senior home creates opportunities for community engagement between residents, senior citizens, and schoolchildren through ecological learning, which runs parallel with the emergence of a rich ecosystem designed for the fruition of the purple martin avian species.