I really looked up to my uncle Ken when I was growing up. He was the only one in my immediate family that had completed college and gotten his degree. He was a drafting engineer. Back then everything that is now done by computer was done by hand. He designed composite cans. Composite cans were like biscuit cans. Before everything was made out of plastic, a lot of things came in composite cans, like motor oil. He was the head engineer on the Pringles potato chip can project. The can is one of the few cans today that are still composite.
I decided early on that I was going to follow in the footsteps of my uncle. I signed up for technical school and took a year’s worth of drafting. But it turns out that it was a lot like drawing and I sucked at it. I gave it up after a year.
My uncle not only liked to make schematics while he was working, but he also liked to draw and design things while he was off work. At that time they had a design contest for the major league baseball symbol that you still see today. You know, the picture that shows a baseball player holding a bat and it says “National Baseball Association.” My uncle didn’t win the contest, but his design was considered as a runner up.
Today there is a competition to redesign parts of the riverfront in St. Louis near the gateway arch. The design of the arch itself was the result of a competition between engineers and architects. According to St. Louis Daily News: “For the first time in a half century, the National Park Service is revisiting one of the world’s most iconic monuments – The Gateway Arch – to integrate the magnificent memorial and its grounds with St. Louis, the Mississippi River and Illinois on the other side.”
There has been a new contest established that will challenge the world’s architects and engineers to come up with the unique ideas for the riverfront. Five finalist teams have been chosen out of hundreds of entries to redesign the St. Louis riverfront.
If you’d like to check out the finalist’s entries, they are on display at the St. Louis Arch Visitor’s Center until the end of September. The display will also be shown at about ten different locations around St. Louis including the Missouri Botanical Garden.
The winners of the competition will be announced on September 24, 2010 in conjunction with Eero Saarinen’s, (who designed the arch), 100th birthday.