EcoBlock intern Danielle Magnus has been working on a case study block in the Academy neighborhood, bounded by Kingshighway Blvd. on the east, Academy Avenue on the west, Enright Avenue on the south and Kensington Avenue on the north. This is in response to a request from the City of St. Louis to demonstrate what an Urban EcoBlock might look like and how it would transform an existing block.

The intent of the design is to first salvage select historic houses on the block, which would be renovated to a much higher building performance. The design then features new 2-family, multifamily and townhouses, designed for optimum solar access, daylighting and a central ground-source (aka geothermal) heating & cooling system into the total block buildout. In addition, the design would incorporate mixed-use residential/retail/commercial space along Kingshighway. 

The central commons has been designed for urban agricultural use, including a greenhouses and open spaces for gardening. In addition, the space includes a children’s playground and green space with native landscape for the residents of the block to enjoy.  A terrace at the back of the mixed-use area overlooks the commons taking advantage of the view.

Urban EcoBlock board members are meeting with Cecilia Dvorak with the City’s Planning Department on March 4th for a final review, after which time we will schedule a meeting with Mary Hart Burton, Zoning Administrator for the City of St. Louis.

The next step in the case study will be to expand on the details of the built area, including hardscape, pervious and impervious areas. With this data, Than Hansen of Wahaso will design a water harvesting system using this case study as a model. We’ll also capture the gross square footage and Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of both residential and mixed use buildings, enabling us to begin our analysis to create a Net Zero Energy block.

It is important to note that no development has been scheduled in this block and this is simply a study to illustrate what an Urban EcoBlock could look like. We look forward to publishing more details soon!

Overview of Sample Urban EcoBlock
View from the Southwest
View from Northeast