Post-Dispatch Readers Grumble Over Jury for New Arch Grounds Design

click to enlarge Post-Dispatch Readers Grumble Over Jury for New Arch Grounds Design / CC BY-SA 2.0
Here are the folks who'll get to decide how the Arch grounds will look in 2015 (the year the monument turns 50). Commenters at are grumbling about one of them. Can you guess which one?
  • Robert Campbell, architecture critic at The Boston Globe and contributing editor for Architectural Record
  • Gerald Early, Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters and Director of the African and Afro-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis
  • Denis P. Galvin, former Deputy Director of the National Park Service
  • Alex Krieger, founding principal of Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, architecture and urban design firm and professor at the Harvard School of Design, Cambridge, Mass.
  • David C. Leland, an urban strategist and managing director of the Leland Consulting Group, Portland, Ore.
  • Cara McCarty, curator of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York City
  • Laurie D. Olin, partner and landscape architect of the OLIN Studio, Philadelphia
  • Carol Ross Barney, founder and Principal of Ross Barney Architects, Chicago
Did you pick the black professor from Wash U? Ding ding ding! One surly commenter wrote:

Gerald Early, a professor and director of Afro-American studies at Washington University.HUH, what in the heck does he have to offer in regards to design, architecture, etc. I just don't understand why a professor of Afro_American studies is included, except to be politically correct, maybe.
Thus provoking the question: who picked these jurors? According to the Foundation, all kinds of folks on the "governance board," including Mayor Slay, Tom Bradley (superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial) and Bruce Lindsey (dean of Wash U's architecture school).

Others weighing in at the PD's site were displeased that only ONE St. Louisan sat on the panel. Though Michael Allen, over at the Ecology of Absence blog, makes this interesting defense of that decision:

...the jury would not do well for St. Louis if it were fraught with the politics of representing local talent or special interests. The jury must be able to independently evaluate the submissions free from the wires of local politics. That goal has been accomplished...

The jury's composition, however, should not consign local critics to passivity. In fact, having St. Louis' leading critics and designers outside of the official process allows them the free reign of critical engagement that only those with deep local understanding can offer. All of us ...should step up to demand excellence, praise good decisions, call out bad decisions and work to guarantee that the design competition is truly a great moment for our city.

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