Arbolope Studio is an award-winning landscape architecture and urban design firm based in St. Louis, Missouri ( MO ), USA

Central Plaza

St. Louis, MO

Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts,

Washington University in St. Louis


Landscape Architecture
Public Art
Furniture Design
Landscape on Structure

About the Project

The Central Plaza is an elevated space that connects the main entrances of Steinberg Hall and the Kemper Art Museum at the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts (SFS) at Washington University in St. Louis. “Fragmented Terrain” is an unbuilt design for the Central Plaza that proposes a creative, low-cost activation strategy to address infrastructure decay issues and create usable space for SFS students, faculty, visitors and staff.

“Fragmented Terrain” proposes capping areas of extreme surface decay with a ground mural, sculptural deck structures and two shade pavilions.

Painted bands of colors from the SFS logo, which represent the various schools and institutions within SFS, form an implied rectangular space at the center of the plaza.

The deck platforms occupy the interior of the square ground mural. Their shapes are a result of removing major circulation lines and “fragmenting” the resulting shapes to create interior areas for small gatherings. Users can sit around the square perimeter, gather in one of the interior areas with friends, and climb, sit or recline on the deck fragments.

This proposal also imagines the activation of the lower lawn area with improved access, an informal amphitheater space, new plantings and movable furniture.