Reweaving the Fabric of the South End Neighborhood: Mixed Use Design with the Ascension Development Corporation of East St. Louis, Illinois

This studio will focus specifically on issues of social justice and universal access to the built environment through consideration of mixed use urban and building design proposals with our client, Ascension Development Corporation. This is a service learning studio, conducted as part of the East St. Louis Action Research Project, in the context of the South End Neighborhood of East St. Louis, Illinois. In this studio, students will utilize a participatory approach to the design process which will include two different intensive design charettes conducted in East St. Louis with student teams joining professionals and members of Ascension Development Corporation's Board to consider development and design options for the site (approximately one city block). This course will be jointly conducted with a studio from Southern University School of Architecture (SUSA) in Baton Rouge, LA. In this course, after the initial design charette, students will spend the duration of the semester designing a mixed use proposal that will probably include a Family Life Center, Housing Units for seniors, and some commercial development. Students will address this comprehensive design study both individually and in collaborative groups composed of 2-3 UIUC students and 2 SUSA students. Design solutions will include comprehensive design of buildings and the associated external spaces where the structure is part of the broader urban design solution for the area. For this purpose, you will be introduced to a wide range of techniques for survey, analysis, and synthesis relating to design issues in the urban environment. The analysis will inform the building so that the urban context helps to generate proposed new forms. Special emphasis will be placed on site design and development and the integration of construction technology, structure, and environmental systems in the design process. Students will be required to utilize both hand- and computer-generated graphics in design process and presentations in this studio.

List of students and faculty
Course syllabus

   Readings and Discussion
  Required readings and class discussions engaged students in various socio-cultural issues related to neighborhood planning and design.
Course Reading

Ascension Charrette #1

The first charrette took place on the weekend of February 6th. The students were split into six different teams and a Q & A session with Ascension about the specifics of the project followed. After the Q & A session the six groups proceded to go out doors and gather all the nescessary field measurements of the site as well as a site analysis.

The six groups then spent the rest of Friday and Saturday afternoon creating programs and schematic designs for the project. These were then presented to the Ascension Board and a critique session followed.

Ascension Charrette #2

The second charrette, which was more of a presentation, was on March 5th. Six different presentations were given, showing various schemes and various programs. Following the presentation was another Q & A session with the members of the Ascension Board.

Final Presentation

The final presentation was given a St. Paul Baptist Church in East St. Louis, Illinois on May 5th.

Photos from meeting

  Three teams of architecture students developed neighborhood plans that addressed all the guideline and program elements. Each group gave their design a title that reflects its focus:

A Vision for the Future
Reclaiming Community Space
Family Life Center & Semi-Attached Affordable Housing

   Questions and Comments