Lists Riverfront

St. Louis Fails to Make "Worst Waterfront Cities" List

by Michael R. Allen

The Project for Public Spaces has unveiled its “Worst Waterfront Cities.” New York, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Boston, Tokyo, Seattle and Paris are the finalists. One wonders why St. Louis, one of the world’s most famous river cities with one of the world’s least-accessible riverfronts, is not on the list. Perhaps St. Louis is not large enough to catch the attention of PPS, or perhaps our abundance of amazing riverfront industrial architecture partly redeems our failures of public space planning.

Of course, in the eyes of the local establishment, the great waterfront plan created by Diana Balmori and Associates is tantamount to actually improving the riverfront, despite the fact that its price tag renders it “dead in the water” (yeah, I know) and its scope is limited only to the downtown riverfront that already is cut off from where people actually live.

More thoughts on the matter are online in Rob Powers’ photo-essay “What’s Wrong With This Riverfront?” (about our downtown riverfront) and my own “How Do You Get to the River?” (about one of my favorite river access points, soon to be rendered inaccessible).

(Thanks to Alan Brunettin for pointing out the PPS list.)

AIA Lists

St. Louis Has Two Entries on "America’s Favorite Architecture"

by Michael R. Allen

The American Institute of Architects has published America’s Favorite Architecture, a list of 150 buildings around the country chosen through a poll of 1,800 Americans. The results are questionable, although guessing why certain buildings are on the list and making sense of the list order provides endless entertainment.

St. Louis is represented only twice, with our ubiquitous Gateway Arch at #14 and beloved Union Station at #40.

Some of the results — Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, two Apple stores in New York City — will certainly puzzle locals wondering why the Wainwright Building, among other worthy contenders here and elsewhere, is absent.

Chicago critic Lynn Becker has excellent commentary on the list here.