PHOENIX (May 19, 2011) – St. Louis’ Citygarden, a 2.9-acre richly landscaped sculpture garden and park that has altered the perception of the city’s downtown and catalyzed nearby development, has received national recognition as the 2011 winner of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award. The award for the park was based on a competition to recognize an outstanding example of a well-used public open space that has spurred regeneration and the transformation of the surrounding community.
The announcement was made today at ULI’s Real Estate Summit at the Spring Council Forum in Phoenix. St. Louis’ park was chosen for the top honor over finalists Director Park in Portland, Ore.; Discovery Green in Houston, Texas; Jamison Square in Portland, Ore.; and the Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion in Houston, Texas.
A $10,000 cash prize is being awarded to Citygarden, which was developed through the funding of the Gateway Foundation. With a design that draws on St. Louis’ chief natural feature—its rivers—Citygarden has succeeded attracting a diverse public and creating an outdoor destination attraction and meeting place. Situated on two blocks of the underutilized Gateway Mall, between Eighth and 10th and Chestnut and Market streets, the active sculpture garden has drawn several hundred thousand visitors since it opened in 2009. Lead designer Warren Byrd, of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, consulted with the Missouri Botanical Garden in selecting flora that are native to the state, incorporating them into Citygarden’s landscaping design that includes 24 modern and contemporary sculptures.
“Citygarden is a stunning example of what great public open space design can do for an urban area. The garden’s design succeeds in attracting users of every background. The interplay between art, landscape, imaginative seating and water features has a universal appeal and creates a new focal point for St. Louis’ downtown,” said New York City Planning Commissioner Amanda M. Burden. “It exemplifies why public space is integral to the health of cities and epitomizes the best of what the Urban Open Space award seeks to foster.”
The five entries, including Citygarden, were selected from an impressive collection of entries, representing urban areas throughout the United States. Finalist selections were based on project design and how each transformed or revived their surrounding community
The remaining finalists, with the project’s “champion” in parentheses:
- Director Park, Portland, Oregon (ZGF Architects/Portland Parks & Recreation Department): Taking the place of a proposed 8-story parking structure, the Simon and Helen Director Park is half-acre piazza that serves as parlor and salon for Portland’s downtown institutions. With a café, fountain, and pavilion, the minimalist open space has become an outdoor room for Portland’s citizenry.
- Discovery Green, Houston, Texas (Discovery Green Conservancy): Once a contaminated, underdeveloped parcel on the edge of downtown, the 12-acre Discovery Green has become Houston’s signature open space. Adjacent to the city’s convention center, the heavily-programmed park has attracted an estimated two million visitors since opening and drawn reinvestment into east downtown.
- Jamison Square, Portland, Oregon (Peter Walker and Partners Landscape Architecture): Located in Portland’s Pearl District, Jamison Square is the first of a series of planned urban parks, each designed to reinforce the city’s relationship with the waterfront. With its interactive fountain, pool, and outdoor art gallery, the pocket park has become a kid-friendly magnet for neighborhood families.
- Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion, Houston, Texas (Thomas Phifer and Partners): Formerly an underutilized and neglected quad at Rice University, the Raymond and Susan Brochstein Pavilion has created a new student center and social hub on campus. The airy pavilion is capped by a broad trellis and surrounded by elm tree groves, providing shade for its surrounding seating areas and winding footpaths.
The first ULI Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award was presented in 2010, with Detroit’s Campus Martius Park winning the inaugural honor. Known as “Detroit’s Official Gathering Place,” the 2.5-acre green space was transformed from a desolate downtown parcel into a vibrant central square that is now the heart of the city’s downtown redevelopment initiative.
In addition to Ms. Burden, other 2011 competition jury members are: Jury Chairman Marty Jones, president of Corcoran Jennison Companies in Boston; Michael S. Balaban, president, Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group, Eastern Region, Washington, D.C.; Gregory Baldwin, partner, ZGF Architects LLP, Portland, Ore.; Douglas W. Betz, senior vice president of development, Dayton, Ohio; William A. Gilchrist, director of placed-based planning, City of New Orleans, La.; Kenneth H. Hughes, president, Hughes Development, LP, Dallas, Texas; Mark Johnson, president, Civitas, Inc., Denver, Colo.; Christopher W. Kurz, president and chief executive officer, Linden Associates, Inc., Baltimore, Md.; David Malmuth, president, David Malmuth Development, San Diego, Calif.; Jeff Mayer, chief executive officer, Jeff Mayer + Partners, LLC, Irvine, Calif.; Randall K. Rowe, chairman, Green Courte Partners, LLC, Lake Forest, Ill.; and John B. Slidell, executive vice president, The Bozzuto Group, Greenbelt, Md.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (uli.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has nearly 30,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.