West of downtown St. Louis, Missouri, a group of local and internationally renowned architects has been selected to design single-family homes for a 3.3-acre residential development. The project, centered on a one-block stretch of Olive Street between Vandeventer Avenue and Spring Avenue, will include 17 individual homes and an apartment building with 35 units.
‘On Olive,’ as the development is known, is backed by Steve Trampe of Owen Development and Emily Rauh Pulitzer, a St. Louis-based philanthropist and founder of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. They will be joined by James Maloney, manager of the Pulitzer Family Office, as principal developers for the $30 million project. According to St. Louis Public Radio, the developers do not intend to make a profit off of the project. Rather, Trampe insists that “The goal is really to build something that’s really significant and lasting.”
Situated just blocks from the city’s Contemporary Art Museum and the Sheldon Concert Hall, the site currently consists of several vacant lots and the 1898 Wolfner Building, which previously housed the Henry L. Wolfner Library for the Blind. The St. Louis Historic Preservation Commission has approved St. Louis-based firm Axi:Ome’s planned renovation of the building, which will ensure that its Italian Renaissance facade is preserved. The surrounding Grand Center Arts District also boasts a Tadao Ando-designed headquarters for the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.
On Olive’s 35-unit apartment building will be designed by the L.A.-based Michael Maltzan Architects. Occupying an empty lot on the southwestern corner of Vandeventer Avenue and Olive Street, its composition will include a set of sharp, angular volumes that define a semi-enclosed courtyard. One wall of the low-rise structure will connect to the existing Wolfner Building, which will host many of the development’s communal amenity spaces. The single-family homes will all be located on the eastern portions of the site.
The newly built houses will add some variety to Grand Center’s architectural landscape, which currently consists of many small apartment buildings that house students from nearby St. Louis University. For the design of the homes, Pulitzer and Trampe convened a group of architects from across North America, including the Guadalajara-based Macias Peredo, Boston-based Höweler + Yoon, New York-based MOS Architects, and the Mexico City-based Tatiana Bilbao ESTUDIO.
The list also includes two emerging architects: L.A.-based Cory Henry, who won the National Black Emerging Architect Award, and St. Louis-based Constance Vale, who has been recognized as the St. Louis Emerging Architect. Buyers of the new properties will be able to select from model homes designed by the selected architects. As shown in images from CityScene STL, construction has already begun on eight of the homes on the south side of Olive Street.
With prices beginning around $250,000, the homes of On Olive will not help to address St. Louis’ worsening housing crisis. The developers are hoping, however, that an influx of more permanent residents will invigorate local businesses who rely primarily on transient populations, including students and visitors to the area’s cultural attractions.