Longview Farm, Town and Country, MO
Photography by Kim Dillon
Workers and volunteers labor behind the scenes every day through St. Louis’s summer heat to bring Town and Country residents a little more natural beauty to enjoy. Sixteen years ago in the early summer of 2002, renovations began in Town and Country to help bring a new abundance of natural beauty and wildlife back to the area. The city asked the local garden club for help completing the project at Longview Farm. Originally created in the '60s by local garden designer Edith Mason, the space had overgrown with weeds and fallen into disrepair. It took the team of dedicated volunteers six weeks just to get the patio back into shape. The main obstacle in making the park accessible for visitors was removing large amounts of poison ivy, honeysuckle and other invasive species of weed. After months of hard work, the park was ready for its grand opening in September of 2002. Longview Farm provides a place for people to escape their busy city lives to relax in a naturally beautiful setting made specially for them by hard-working volunteers. Since its completion, every September the garden club and other volunteers collaborate to choose which plants will be included in the upcoming planting season. The master gardeners and horticulturally talented individuals of the garden club have logged over 10,000 volunteer hours over the years, and the club currently has 14 active members, 10 who are master gardeners. “Park visitors stop by on Fridays, our workday, to see what we’re doing and to ask gardening questions,” says Claire Chosid, the head volunteer at Longview. “It’s amazing to us that so many people love what we do and have events at the park because of the gardens we’ve created. It’s just such a rewarding project.” Seven years ago, Longview Farm volunteers also began working at the greenhouse at South Tech High School with the St. Louis Greenhouse Plant Society. Claire says, “St. Louis Greenhouse Plant Society is a non-profit, wholly managed by volunteers. The ability to grow unusual plants from seed and plugs is one of the things that, in my opinion, sets the Longview gardens apart from other gardens.” The volunteers’ work is a true labor of love, bringing beauty to St. Louis no matter the weather and defining Longview a natural jewel to our community.
The Museum of Outdoor Arts Element House, New Mexico
Photography by Florian Holzherr
New Mexico is a state rich with natural beauty, though it can be a bit hot for visitors from colder regions of the country. In 2014, a building designed by MOS Architects and called the Museum of Outdoor Arts Element House was erected to create both a guest house and visitor center for a nearby land art project called Star Axis. Star Axis was designed by artist Charles Ross and uses architecture and art to accentuate the surrounding night sky. The house was meant to accomplish more than asylum from the New Mexican heat for its visitors; the house was designed to operate independently from public utilities by developing on-site energy generation. The building’s modular design and structurally insulated panels, called SIPs, support their goal in using sustainable energy. The building’s basic components give the structure a modern feel while also increasing environmental performance. Perhaps more interesting than its sustainability is the structure and design of the building, which is based on the geometric systems of growth and expansion one module after another. For example, instead of having one chimney located in a central location of the home, the chimney was decentralized into vertical skylights and solar chimneys created to keep the building cool. This ventilation is one way to keep New Mexico’s heat from overwhelming the building, while raw-aluminum shingles with small air gaps between them cover the house to redistribute heat from the hotter side of the building to the cooler, shaded side. These innovations and the building’s simplistic, natural appeal allows visitors to see Star Axis at all times of the year despite the temperature.
New Ludgate, London, England
Started in 2013 and completed in 2015, New Ludgate sits on a site filled with history, both real and fictional. The Belle Sauvage coaching inn was not only a common place for travellers to stay and visit, it also became a common site in famous author Charles Dickens’s novels; the inn hosted both Pocahontas and the first live rhinoceros to ever visit London. After World War II, the inn fell into disrepair. The site of One and Two New Ludgate was formerly used for '80s-style office buildings and offered little accessibility or beauty to the public. For the new projects, the space was split into two office buildings to create an outdoor space to revamp the history of the Belle Sauvage route, which had disappeared. The designs made by Fletcher-Priest Architects reinstated and improved the public realm of the entire area and brought a modern addition to the city of London. Not only did they recreate the old pedestrian route, but they also added a piazza to gather lunchtime sunlight for tired passersby and hungry office workers. Each building is comprised of nine stories for office space plus the ground floors, which boast retail shops and bars. These stores sit under milky glass awnings, providing sunlight all day. A terrace on the south-facing roof overlooks St. Paul's Cathedral and the surrounding city of London.