Undergraduate design studio, Washington University in St. Louis, 2007.
Four-week design exercise for an architectural folly for viewing and interpreting the landscape at a confluence of the Upper Mississippi River. Peter MacKeith was awarded a Creative Achievement Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) in 2008 for this studio which was titled, “Lighthouses: Adventures on the Mississippi.” Read a news story about the award here.
The Big Muddy is an underwhelming river. There is nothing BIG about it, nothing that would make passing motorists on the Great River Road stop and take notice. However, the confluence of the Mississippi River and the Big Muddy River is remarkable for the wide array of landscapes converging at that point: bluffs, big river, levee, small river, floodplain, island, oxbow lake, farm, and highway. This folly renders these landscapes legible via a series of directed views, each at a historic record high of the Big Muddy River. Viewing platforms pierce the corrugated steel skin to offer unfolding views above the levee and tightly bounded views below the levee height. The skin is derived from the omnipresent grain bins on nearby farms, suggesting common themes of farms and levees: dryness, containment, and large-scale human manipulation of the natural landscape.