Design Charette Will Turn Oak Knoll into a Sculpture Park

Landscape Architects from Across the Country Volunteer Services


St. Louis, MO -- On Thursday, October 26, 2000 at 2:00 p.m., a press conference will be held at the St. Louis Artist Guild, 2 Oak Knoll Park, Clayton, MO, where nationally-famous landscape architects are volunteering with local colleagues and other design professionals and top Clayton officials to brainstorm key elements of a conceptual plan for creating a strong, memorable image and incorporating public art into the existing 21-acre park. This press conference will explain the project, which is the focus of the all-day design charette being held at the same location.

The volunteer effort to develop a conceptual master plan for the park is being led by Scott Emmelkamp and Floyd Zimmerman of the St. Louis Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) as a chapter demonstration project in conjunction with the Society's national convention, which will be held at this year in St. Louis from October 27-31.

According to the national president of ASLA, Janice C. Schach, FASLA, "Volunteer projects like these are a long tradition of the Society. Every year, we like to give back something to the area that hosts our convention."

During the design charette, participants will review and critique a series of designs developed over the last six months by the local ASLA chapter as well as develop new ideas to be incorporated in the design.

Floyd Zimmerman, FASLA, co-chairman of the project, states that "Some 70 members of the local chapter and other designers have contributed to the development of design concepts through a series of work sessions, held at various St. Louis landscape architectural offices, in an impressive display of teamwork and cooperation."

Ideas that have been developed include increasing the area of the existing lake by about 300 percent and adding a floating stage and grass amphitheater for concerts and theatrical performances, creating an artist-in-residence facility in the old carriage house currently used as a maintenance facility, and developing a children's area with interactive sculpture.

 "We see water as a possible unifying theme. Whether it's a series of fountains throughout the park or a stream that would start near the Artist Guild building and meander down the slope to the lake, the possibilities are endless," said Scott Emmelkamp, ASLA, a senior landscape architect and planner from PGAV Inc. and project co-chairman.

 "This is an exciting opportunity to integrate art in the landscape. And we are especially grateful for the volunteer support of top landscape architects from around the country who are lending their talent to this project," continued Emmelkamp.

Noted national designers who are volunteering on the project include: Peter Walker, FASLA, PWP Landscape Architecture Inc. of San Francisco, CA and former Chairman of the Department of Landscape Architecture at The Harvard Graduate School of Design; Stuart Dawson, FASLA, Sasaki Associates Inc. of Boston, MA; William Johnson, FASLA, former Dean of the School of Natural Resources at the University of Michigan; Neil Porterfield, FASLA, The Porterfield Group of Boalsburg, PA and the former Dean of the School of Arts and Architecture at the Pennsylvania State University; and Gyo Obata, FAIA, Honorary Member of ASLA, founder and design leader of HOK, the largest design firm of its kind in the world.

This is the first conceptual step in the process of developing a master plan for Oak Knoll Park. Practical considerations such as parking, engineering analyses and cost estimates would come later in the project. Ultimately, the actual sculptures for the park would be acquired later by the Clayton Public Art Commission and placed according to the design plan, as developed.

 "The city of Clayton has made public art a priority and has been very supportive of our effort which has made it especially rewarding to help them with the project," said Zimmerman.

In a series of weekly meetings over last three months, the landscape architecture team has met with a city of Clayton alderperson, its recreation director and parks director as well as the Clayton Public Arts Commission and the director of the Artist Guild's.

Following the charette, in November, the landscape architects expect to meet with Clayton city officials to present their conceptual plan. A final date for this presentation has not yet been set but it is expected to be open to the public. The landscape architects say they look forward to hearing the thoughts and comments of local residents.

In St. Louis, the landscape architects' national convention is expected to be attended by over 4,000 landscape architects and other professionals in the Society's first member-wide gathering of the new millennium. The annual meeting's theme, "Gateway to Discovery: Confluence of Environment, Heritage and Community," reflects St. Louis' history as the gateway to the West as well as its position at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

The American Society of Landscape Architects, founded in 1899, represents more than 13,000 members nationwide. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation and rehabilitation. Typical projects include site design and planning, town and urban planning, regional planning, preparation of environmental impact plans, garden design, historic preservation, and parks/recreation design and planning. Landscape architects hold undergraduate or graduate degrees. They are licensed to practice in 47 states and are required to pass a rigorous national three-day examination. For more information, visit our Web site at

Editors Note: Press are welcome to attend the design charette, running from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., as well as the press conference at 2:00 p.m. Both events are being held at the St. Louis Artist Guild in Oak Knoll Park, 2 Oak Knoll Park, Clayton, MO.


Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371