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. Some bird species, like the purple martin, even exclusively prefer human-designed urban habitats.
In this project, purple martins are welcomed as new neighbors of the West End Neighborhood in St. Louis, and in turn, become a delightful agent of engagement along a revitalized community corridor.
The Hodiamont Tracks Greenway
is a new community initiative that will replace the old Hodiamont Tracks streetcar railway, which subsequently became a desolate alleyway running through the West End.
The greenway will catalyze a series of efforts to reinvigorate the historically underserved neighborhood, paving way for increased connectivity to amenities, well-designed public open spaces, and community-engaging activities.
Birdscape, located along the Hodiamont at a narrow site between the Kipp Victory Academy and Hylton Point Senior Home, is a proposal that will serve as one of the activation nodes of ecological and social interactions,
creating new relationships between residents of the urban realm—humans, animals, and plants alike.
The design features a pathway, lined with strikingly-designed martin birdhouses, shooting off the greenway and becoming a corridor for engagement betweeen humans and the sociable purple martin birds.
Underneath, a bioswale gradually widens into a Pickerelweed wetland pond adjacent to the greenway, retaining and filtering excess stormwater runoff.
The formal layout of the intervention bridges the properties of the elementary school and senior home; these adjacencies create opportunities for community engagement between residents, senior citizens, and schoolchildren through ecological learning, which runs parallel with the emergence of a rich habitat designed for the fruition of the purple martin avian species.