The 40-acre Donald Danforth Plant Science Center site has been transformed from a highly maintained commercial landscape into prairie and other native habitats to complement the 79,000 sf laboratory addition. The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) recognized the project with a Merit Award from ASLA St. Louis Chapter and a Merit Award from ASLA Central States. Six Chapters makeup the ASLA Central States and encompass the eight US states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The building addition and site was designed and master planned to accommodate 120 additional scientists and plan for significant additional expansion in the future. The client found direct connections between their mission to “improve the human condition through plant science.” The restoration of over 6 acres of prairie on site, water garden, green roof and integrated bioretention basins was seen as an extension of the research that the Center undertakes – research of native grasses to feed the hungry in developing countries, improvement of human health and preservation and renewal of the environment.
The Danforth prairie is a model for the St. Louis region by embracing the benefits of native plantings and habitat development. The Center is a highly visible facility providing continuous programming around biodiversity and plant science with broad exposure to a multi-generational audience. The Center is a global leader that is leveraging their site to demonstrate the vital connections between native landscapes, biodiversity, and agriculture. Landscape Architects are recognized for leading the way.