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The proposal for the reuse of the Donna Brown Building was the result of the analysis of the public space layout on S. Grand Ave. This included an understanding of the qualities of the promenade created in the S. Grand Commercial District through a “street diet”, and the beautification of the streetscape. I was in particular interested in studying parking as it clearly affects walkability and circulation. Through a series of studies in plan and section, I was able to look at the different parking typologies that exist along Grand. It was apparent in this study that as a pedestrian moved from north to south the appearance of the retail typology of the “box” changes completely the walkability and perception of safety. Therefore, the neighborhood became less pedestrian friendly and connected to the commercial strip. As a result, the ability to appeal to those customers that are attracted to South Grand for its urban appeal increasingly diminished once you pass Utah Blvd. Therefore, it was important to make the site a destination that could provide those customers an incentive to cross Gravois Ave. As a result, a courtyard surrounded by retail and a space for center for children from inside and outside the neighborhood to play was a vital piece in this proposal. The urban promenade continues from the courtyard to the roof garden, where ample views of the city are offered to the visitor. Since more than half of the refugee children are under 14 years old and the Gravois Park’s demographic showed the existence of single mothers and households with young children, it was important to respond to the needs of these households. Hence, an after-care facility that could not only provide a safe environment for kids to play and work on their homework, but also the space for their parents to work on their resume, business plans, or just enjoy a coffee. The adults and kids would be visually connected through the space. The housing program frames the courtyard and roof garden as well as responding to specific views of the city.

Publication Date

Fall 2016

Subject Categories

Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning

Rights Statement

© 2016 Xinzhi Pan


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,

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