Knowledge Challenge Competition

St. Mary High School students presenting their design.

St. Mary High School students presenting their design.

For the second consecutive year, JEMA has participated in the Knowledge Challenge competition. Sponsored by McEagle Properties, the Knowledge Challenge involves creating opportunities for our area's high school students to become more involved in urban planning, architecture, and engineering.

This year's competition involved the creation of a new urban park located in the city's north side at the intersection of Howard and Hadley Street. The area is special because it is the "landing point" for Great River Greenway's Branch Street Trestle. The trestle is a new trail and park that will transform approximately 1.5 miles of abandoned elevated railroad track. 

Existing Branch Street Trestle.

Existing Branch Street Trestle.

Each high school team has an assigned professional "mentor" to assist them with their projects. JEMA architects Thad Martin and Jon McKee mentored the students from Roosevelt High School, and John Mueller mentored the team from St. Mary's High School. The teams explored issues relating to urban design, and key topics connected to the design process including concept framing, documentation, budgeting, adaptive reuse, modeling, presentation, and more.

St. Mary's High School team presents their winning concept: an amphitheater for music events.

St. Mary's High School team presents their winning concept: an amphitheater for music events.

The students worked with mentors over the course of a semester, and presented their design concepts to the following judges: Paul McKee, Jr., McEagle Properties; William D. Laskowsky, McEagle Properties; Susan Trautman, Great Rivers Greenway; Kevin E. Riggs, Cole Engineering; Eric Hoffman, Sam Fox School of Design/Washington University; Christine Abbott, Sam Fox School of Design/Washington University; Don Koster, Sam Fox School of Design/Washington University; Don Roe, City of St. Louis Planning and Urban Development; Alderwoman Tammika Hubbard, City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen; and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Olympic Gold Medalist.

The competition is gaining momentum and is becoming a significant part of many local high schools' curricula. With 11 teams from 5 different high schools participating, more and more students are getting in-depth exposure to the fields of architecture and engineering. Congratulations to the students of St. Marys, Construction Career Center, Metro Academic and Gateway!