The Metropolitan Landscape is a term used to describe contemporary urban agglomerations like St. Louis and its surrounding areas. Metropolitan landscapes cannot be characterized by a single physical condition, but encompass a spectrum of diverse urbanisms that vary in the relationships of buildings to open space, in their scales, patterns, types, and uses, and in the ways they articulate and interact with each other and with linking infrastructures.
Faculty: Patty Heyda and Carolyn Gaidis, Washington University in St. Louis
This course, required for all first-year MUD students, provides the foundational skills for students to engage the complexity of metropolitan landscapes while negotiating criteria of design quality, sustainability, human use patterns, and in-depth knowledge of systemic and inter-scalar relationships.
During the semester, students work across a collection of urban areas along the Martin Luther King/St. Charles Rock Road corridor. This transect traces the first streetcar line that connected the cities of St. Louis and St. Charles. Students build on material compiled by last year’s urban design studio, primarily by developing new sites in between and farther out along the corridor. Study areas include East St. Louis (across the Mississippi River) and St. Charles (across the Missouri River).
Through work across comparative sites, students develop an understanding of how and why these sites differ and what shapes them, while exploring appropriate, critical interventions. They begin by working in groups of two to do mapping and analysis of the sites, then move on to independent investigations, each developing an urban design proposal.