Today the final five design teams presented their ideas for rejuvenating the arch grounds to the panel of judges who will select the winning design. It was open to the public, so I went downtown with Jim early this morning. The presentations had been moved to America's Center as it was felt there would be too large a crowd to hold it in the auditorium under the arch as had been originally planned. I think they forgot that by holding it on a week day, most working folks would not be able to attend. Even though the news reported 150 people in attendance this morning, I don't think there was anywhere near that number in the auditorium. Maybe they were counting all the people in the building?
Anyway, while I had seen the boards of each of the teams on the competition website, I had not had a chance to study them in person. That is the first thing I did this morning. Each of the design teams has come up with innovative ideas for connecting the the downtown area to the arch, and then across the river to East St. Louis. Some of the concepts seemed a little too far out there for St. Louis, but maybe that is just me. I preferred the designs that embraced the natural ecology of the St. Louis region.
Each team was given 45 minutes to present, and then allowed 30 minutes for q. & a. from the judges. (The audience was not allowed to ask any questions, or make any comments.) The first 2 teams presented in the morning, with a 30 minute break between presentations. I very much enjoyed the opportunity to have the one dimensional boards brought to life through the PowerPoint presentations of the teams. It was interesting to hear the thought process behind the designs. Jim and I went out for a quick lunch during the hour long lunch break and then I headed home. Honestly, I don't know how the judges sat through an additional 3 presentations after lunch. They went on until 6:30! My head was spinning after just 2. As all the presentations were videotaped, I figure I can watch the others at my leisure once they are posted on the competition's website.
All I can say is that no matter who wins, this is going to be huge for St. Louis. If they can find the money.