Sunflowers transform wasteland into the City. Art, culture, nature… and soil remediation

What do you do with a piece of vacant land in the city that probably already has quite a history of pollution. In Saint Louis, they went to work with sunflowers.

In collaboration with Don Koster and Richard Reilly of the Sunflower+ Project: StL, CAM presents Sunflower+ Project number two. In an installation consisting of twenty oil drums planted with sunflowers that will grow from seedlings to mature plants, they show the impact of nature on the environment. In this way, they want to question the complexity of urban greening.
Also featured was artist Mel Chin, who pioneered the use of plants as remediation technology to accelerate soil remediation via metal accumulating plants in an artwork.

The Sunflower+ Project: StL was founded by Don Koster, an architect and senior lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis. Louis, and Richard Reilly, Energy Programs Manager of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s EarthWays Center. This winner of the 2012 Sustainable Land Lab design competition developed by Washington University in partnership with the City of St. Louis. In St. Louis, the Sunflower+ Project: StL planted sunflowers in vacant lots in Old North St. Louis. Louis and the Central West End; In doing so, they address one of the region’s biggest challenges: vacant land.
The team is also testing the feasibility of using sunflowers – which can grow in soil with high concentrations of metals – to remove contaminants from the soil.

Electroculture as a soil fertility accelerator

This project also involved experimenting with Electroculture to improve soil structure.

Donald N. Koster III, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, is an architect and lecturer committed to the design and research of contemporary sustainable environments. He is a senior lecturer at the Sam Fox School of Design Visual & Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. Louis and is the director of an award-winning design practice. Koster’s practice and research are focused on the development of area-based, site- and eco-friendly design solutions with a focus on sustainable community redevelopment and contemporary housing design.

Richard Reilly, LEED AP, BPI BA & EP, is the Energy Programs Manager of the EarthWays Center at the Missouri Botanical Garden. With over thirty years of experience in construction, design and the arts, his practice revolves around environmental and sustainability issues with an emphasis on material reuse and certified green construction. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis and the Advisory Board for the Center for Sustainability at St. Louis University. St. Louis University.

Sunflower+Project: CAM was organized for the Museum of Contemporary Art St. Louis. Louis by Alex Elmestad, Manager of Public Programs in 2014.

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