Baird Sampson Neuert Architects design for Old Post Office Plaza in St. Louis Missouri serves as an urban catalyst for revitalization while forming an iconic event space for downtown St. Louis. Inspired by a large public sculpture, “the Torso of Icaro” by noted sculptor Igor Mitoraj and donated for installation in the project, the design creates a three dimensional armature of spaces and program that spiral upward and around the work to explore the deeper structure of ideas that the myth of Daedelus and Ikarus evokes. Not only was Daedalus the key protagonist of one of the great narratives of flight and fall, he was associated with early manifestations of public space and public art in ancient Greece, as an archetypal architect and sculptor.
Architectonic and landscape elements are used strategically to re-contextualize urban edges and dramatically transform the micro geography of the flat site created by urban clearing. At its centre, a new civic square serves as a venue for events and “cours d’honneur” to the historic Post Office. The raised “theatre plateau on the west side creates an urban edge and vista northward to the handsome Italianate entry pavilion to the historic American Theatre, with the Screen/Cloud wall masks the side wall never intended to be viewed.