St. Louis, Missouri


Forest Park

Centrally located and within access of the region’s 2.5 million citizens, the 1,293 acre Forest Park is one of St. Louis’ most unique and treasured resources. It hosts +12 million annual visitors and is home to major cultural institutions, special events and recreation. The park is a complex environmental system with significant wildlife and some of the oldest forested areas in the city. Forest Park’s natural and physical infrastructure experienced decline and lacked public consensus on a vision for the park’s restoration. It was developed through an unprecedented public participatory planning approach and was based upon the first-ever “Goals and Policies for Forest Park.” The Plan uses the human-ecosystem design method to develop sustainable park-wide systems for passive open space; water and surface drainage; landscape and site relationships; active space; art, architecture and infrastructure; and access, circulation and parking that balance and integrate the diversity of activities, users and environments. The success of the design process, the public-private partnership, and the ongoing dedication to implementation has reinstated Forest Park to its former glory as the heart of St. Louis with over $100 million of reinvestment.

Individual project areas within Forest Park include:

  • Grand Basin

  • Pagoda Circle

  • Jewel Box Facilities & Grounds

  • Upper Muny Parking Lot

  • Round Lake

  • Comfort Stations

  • Wells Drive

  • Central Field

  • Aviation Fields

  • River Des Peres Restoration Area

  • Riffles at Deer Lake

The Riffles at Deer Lake is one of the crucial connections in the new water system, connecting the water from Pagoda Circle into Deer Lake and finally to the Des Peres Lagoon. The highlight of this landscape is the use of subtle, yet massive holey boulders as an accent to the water features. They create occupiable space along the water’s edge. The water system brings a great variety of vibrant plant and animal life.

Central Field includes eleven softball/ little league diamonds, five soccer/football fields and three rugby fields. The fields were reconfigured to provide improved aesthetics and flexibility. The existing building was upgraded to provide an active recreation support facility with attended showers, lockers, and toilets. The adjacent braided stream tributary was improved with naturalistic edge plantings and rock outcroppings and the existing bridges and culverts were restored.

Pagoda Circle is a place that is visually stimulating, engaging, and functionally efficient for moving people. The circle was restored as a place of social significance, that preserves and restores the historic aspects of the site sensitively and thoughtfully for the enjoyment of the community with new pedestrian paths, modification of roadways, and landscape improvements.


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