Family Investment Center, St. Louis County Housing Authority

Jennings, Missouri (1998)

Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture, St. Louis AIA, 1999

Merit Award for Excellence in Architecture, Central States AIA, 1999

Family Investment Center, St. Louis County Housing Authority

Jennings, Missouri (1998)

This neighborhood service center represents a unique undertaking by the County Housing Authority and PBA.  The owner sought the services of an architect who would achieve a high level of design excellence.  The 22,000 square foot walk-up facility supports multiple self improvement programs for the immediate low income neighborhood.  Since the building’s completion, the agency has referred to the result as the “wow!” solution.

Achieving the final result was no easy task.  The site posed several difficult design constraints (and opportunities).  It is sloping land located next to an existing family housing unit, wedged between a wooded creek and a city park.  Initially the City’s planning and zoning officials would not approve the proposal, referring to it as a “hoodlum magnate.”  Following a year of negotiations the City Council approved the proposal, and now takes pride in the center.

The design responds to a limited budget and engages the site in a strong programmatic and visual manner.  Great care was taken to minimize the impact the building would have on the landscape.  No trees were removed.  In order to achieve this, the principal entry is accessible by an elevated bridge; parking and emergency access was kept to a minimum, and existing parking lots were re-striped to gain greater capacity to meet local zoning requirements in lieu of building additional parking lots. 

Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture, St. Louis AIA, 1999

Merit Award for Excellence in Architecture, Central States AIA, 1999