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Parking Lot to Green Park: Performance Green, Saint Louis

Working in collaboration with Forum Studio, Grand Center, Inc., and the Grand Center District’s constituents, LAND COLLECTIVE is designing Performance Green, a new public space which changes the verb (“park”) into a noun, and in the process creating an outstanding venue for public gathering and the celebration of the arts. Performance Green is one of the keystones of the Growing Grand Plan which strives to turn 30 acres of parking lots and vacant land into a “special event district” and “an epicenter of creativity that serves the aesthetic and economic needs of artists, patrons, tourists and the entire St. Louis community.”

The Growing Grand Plan identifies the need to utilize the District’s Streets as an “Urban Stage,” and LAND COLLECTIVE and Forum Studio are conceptualizing Performance Green as just that: a venue for myriad performances in the visual and acoustical arts. This includes Circus Flora, whose annual presence in Saint Louis is a tradition enjoyed by generations. In the design of Performance Green, Circus Flora, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and other arts-oriented organizations will find opportunities for public performance at a variety of scales, from intimate poetry readings to quartets and theater events.

LAND COLLECTIVE’s design focuses on the creation of flexible use for programming that varies throughout the year, using the 12-foot grade change to the advantage of performers creating a series of terraced stages and gathering spaces. When performances are not on the calendar, open-joint fountains will operate through the summer months, replaced by a skating loop in winter where the Circus Flora tent operates from May through June. The park is intended to grow, change and adapt to the community’s needs – both the cultural institutions that surround it and the burgeoning residential neighborhood that desires to participate in it.

But perhaps most important to the project is the prospect of overcoming the “Delmar Divide” – the deep division that has historically separated the community. The design of Performance Green reaches out, quite literally, across Delmar Avenue to engage and connect all of the citizens of the Grand Center District. Recognizing that everyone has a place in the public realm is a core tenant in the mission of LAND COLLECTIVE, where empathy-driven design informs every aspect of our work, and the belief that the creation of a park can overcome great divisions in our society.


Performance Green Parking Signs



Image: Parking signs in the existing Performance Green site, likely to be re-purposed in the design of the new park.