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The building was constructed in 1926 as the Southside Automobile Company’s service center. The automotive industry has been an integral part of St. Louis’ history and precedents along Grand Blvd. My intention is to transform the building back to the historic use, bringing the lively nature of the automotive industry back to this area of Grand. The automotive service in St. Louis is still thriving and within the St. Louis area, and I propose a Trade School for Automobile Service. The School will have a service learning so parents and students will be able to work during their training. There are many businesses that can collaborate with the school to offer employment to the students during their education and after graduation. The program will aim to train students in servicing cars, while will also work in conjunction with a local school to help students finish high school while in training. Refugees ages 17 to 21 have a hard time finishing school in the US, and consequently, finding jobs to help provide for their typically large families. The Gravois Park neighborhood has a low high school graduation rate and is plagued with high crime rates. Graduation rates for the City of St. Louis are about 63%, whereas Central VPA High School, a technical school for performing arts, has a graduation rate of 93%. This is an indication of the need for technical programs as vital to the success of high schoolers in not only this neighborhood but the whole city. By creating more programs around the city that activate young minds, the crime rates are expected to decrease. The proposed program is catered this specific demographic as well as those students in the neighborhood and other neighborhoods that have difficulties in graduating from school and are interested in a skill training and educational program. As a part of the building strategy, I intend to create transparency through the building to allow for visual connection between the program within the building and the street, as well as between spaces within the two levels of the building.

Publication Date

Fall 2016

Subject Categories

Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning

Rights Statement

© 2016 Savannah Hecker


Graduate student work from an architecture studio led by Catalina Freixas (Fall 2016) to envision a new use for the former International Institute of St. Louis (IISTL) site,

Interactive Education