St. Louis, MO
Acknowledging the natural history of the land and celebrating its original inhabitants, the Osage Nation.
LJC’s design team, with the guidance of the Osage Nation, has restored a buried stream on the east end of Tower Grove Park, one of seven parks in the US recognized as a National Historic Landmark. The east stream, established as part of the original park plan from 1876, once continuously flowed across the park from south to north until the stream was buried in an underground pipe network in 1910.
The new stream closely mimics the original alignment and works to incorporate existing conditions, including bridge crossings, pathways, mature trees, landscape, and existing infrastructure. Nature exploration is woven into the plan, including structured play areas, outdoor rooms for structured educational programming, and a place for children to experience nature. Bioretention areas are also integrated to meet the park’s stormwater goals, which retain a minimum standard of a 1.14” rain event.
Careful design consideration went into every aspect of the project, from hydrology, existing tree canopy, root zones and understory planting design, nature play, and equity and inclusion. It is a homage to the natural history of the land. The project celebrates its original inhabitants, the Osage Nation, while the historic stream threads beneath five of the park’s 1870s-era bridges. An ongoing relationship between the park and the Osage Nation has been formed through this project, and tribal artists have since worked with LJC and the park to create animal depictions for future integration. .