The annual AIA CSR Student Design Competition is a charrette format design competition held each year in conjunction with the AIA Central States Design Awards.

The 2019 edition of the Design Competition took place in St. Louis, MO. The Gibbs College of Architecture (GCA) team participated with other schools from the Central States Region in an intense one-day charrette to redesign a site along the Mississippi River that has recently been subject to severe floods. Students were asked to imagine “a building and site for the Mississippi River Watershed Research Center with a threefold mission of research, education, and public outreach.”

Above: The site in St. Louis students were challenged to redesign.

The GCA team, including students Ben Decuyper, Elaheh Houshmanidpanah, Tanaka Kawondera, and Skye Reid, with faculty sponsor Francesco Cianfarani, placed second with their proposal entitled “Pervious Park.”

According to the team, “Pervious Park, the Mississippi River Watershed Research Center in St. Louis, aims to reconnect the city community with the river culture. In order to do so, the project creates a polarity to reconnect existing touristic attractions on the river by the construction of an underground facility, developed below the level of the railroad.

“The main program, hosted underground, will be focused on research linked to the development and dissemination of Mississippi River’s cultural and natural potential. The roof of the facility is used as a public plaza, an ideal extension of the public realm towards the river.

“Each one of the proposed ‘fingers’ will be connected to a specific research topic: Riparian Agriculture; Hydroponics; Water Purification; Aquatic plants.”

Above: Diagram of the GCA team’s “Pervious Park.”

Above: Final rendering of “Pervious Park.”

Other participating universities included Drury University, Washington University, University of Kansas, Kansas State University, and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

For more information about the competition, visit the AIA Central States Emerging Professionals website and Instagram page.

Featured image, from left:

Elaheh Houshmanidpanah, Ben Decuyper, Skye Reid and Tanaka Kawondera