Old Post Office Plaza: St. Louis, Missouri

Old Post Office St.Louis Missouri
© Debbie Franke

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.

Continue reading Old Post Office Plaza: St. Louis, Missouri

MVVA wins Gateway Arch Competition



The multi-disciplinary team lead by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates have been selected over the other 4 teams to proceed to the planning stage of the competition. The jury chose the MVVA Team over four others competing to enliven the area around the Gateway Arch and connect it to downtown St. Louis, the Mississippi River and the Illinois bank. Based in New York, MVVA’s portfolio includes the redesign of Pennsylvania Avenue at the White House, the design of Brooklyn Bridge Park and many other prominent projects.

The MVVA Team’s design concept narrative describes their vision for the redesigned park as a “centerpiece of civic culture, an engine of regional economic growth, a showcase for sustainable ecological restoration and a celebration of the national significance of this historic place.”

MVVA TEAM - Historic Landscape Pond

MVVA TEAM – Historic Landscape Pond

The sponsoring group, the MVVA Team and others will host intensive reviews and workshops this fall to analyze the design concept and conduct a more detailed design exploration. At a minimum, the study will focus on the review of the technical advisory group, the impact on related downtown park properties and the Illinois side of the river, traffic and transportation and federal compliance issues.

For the next stage the MVVA tean will work over a 90-day period, in partnership with the sponsors, the City of St. Louis, the National Park Service and others to further define program requirements; begin developing a design that takes into account the feasibility and practicality of proposed solutions; create a construction budget and fundraising plan; and define the delivery expectations from now until 2015.  The sponsors also will study issues relating to cost and construction, traffic, financial resources and federal compliance.

The project will be constructed by Oct. 28, 2015, the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Arch.

For those of you in St.Louis the leaders of the MVVA team will be introduced, along with details on the next stages of the process, at 10:00 a.m., Friday, Sept. 24, 2010, at the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis.

SOURCE: The City+The Arch+The River 2015 International Design Competition

For Full MVVA team list

Continue reading MVVA wins Gateway Arch Competition

Finalists reveal designs for Gateway Arch Competition

The finalists recently submitted designs for the St.Louis Gateway Arch Competition (The City+The Arch+The River 2015 Competition) . The video below gives a brief summary of the finalists submissions (SOURCE: Stltoday.com). We will update with a more in depth look at the designs soon. The winner will be announced after public comment on September 24.

Finalist teams include
Behnisch Team
PWP Landscape Architecture,
Foster + Partners, Civitas
SOM, Hargreaves, BIG
Weiss/Manfredi Team

(SOURCE: Stltoday.com)

St.Louis Gateway Arch Competition teams meet with local advisory team

Recently the five finalists for the St.Louis CityRiverArch 2015 design competition met with the 24 members of the  local advisory team to ask questions and seek clarification.  The advisory team includes officials from the city street department, the Missouri and Illinois transportation agencies, the Coast Guard, the Metro East Park and Recreation District and the St. Louis Archdiocese, owners of the Old Cathedral on the Arch grounds. The advisory team will also work with National Park Service and the winning team in implementing the design.

Finalists include

• Behnisch Team led by Behnisch Architekten – Stuttgart, Germany, Los Angeles
• MVVA Team led by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates – New York City
• PWP Landscape Architecture, Foster + Partners, Civitas – Berkeley, Calif.
• SOM, Hargreaves, BIG – Chicago
• Weiss/Manfredi, Architecture/Site Design/Urbanism – New York

SOURCE: Stltoday.com

Cream rises to the top for The City + The Arch + The River International Competition

The international design competition for the reinvigoration of the area surrounding the world renowned landmark the Gateway Arch has move on to the third and final design phase with Five Teams selected. When you look at the first list of nine teams announced back in February 2010 for the second stage it was the Who’s who of design but now that list is down to five teams; its the cream of the crop and the winner of the next stage will be a hard decision for all those involved and I guess we all have to wait until late September to find out the winner.


The leaders of the design teams entering the third and final stage of the competition are:

· Behnisch Team led by Behnisch Architekten – Stuttgart, Germany, Los Angeles
· MVVA Team led by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates – New York City
· PWP Landscape Architecture, Foster + Partners, Civitas – Berkeley, Calif.
· SOM, Hargreaves, BIG – Chicago
· Weiss/Manfredi, Architecture/Site Design/Urbanism – New York

“The goal of the first two steps of the process was to identify design teams with the talent, capacity and commitment to create thoughtful design solutions addressing the complex issues of the site and its relationship to the city, the river and the Illinois side. With this selection, that goal has been accomplished,” said Competition Manager Donald J. Stastny, of StastnyBrun Architects. “The selected teams represent local, national and international perspective, and we look forward to working with them over the next few months as their visions evolve and they create their designs.”

“Having this level of architectural, engineering and landscape design power focused on such a visible urban park is exciting,” said Tom Bradley, superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. “We are committed to incorporating our parks into the life of their surrounding communities. I look forward to seeing the designs in August.”

The five teams will begin now and work through the spring and summer on design concepts, which will be put on public exhibition on Aug. 17, 2010. Details will be provided closer to that date.

The eight member jury – which counts a Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic, a professor in the humanities, a former deputy director of the National Park Service, a real estate economist, a museum curator, renowned architects and renowned landscape architects among its members – presented its decision to competition managers after meeting with the nine teams that competed in Stage II of the competition.

The final jury pick will be announced Sept. 24, 2010. The project will be constructed by Oct. 28, 2015, the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Arch.

The public is invited to meet the design teams on April 28 at the Roberts Orpheum Theater downtown. Joe Buck will moderate a discussion about how their past work will influence their efforts to win this competition.

The “Meet the Design Teams” event will begin at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Preregistration is helpful and available through the competition Web site,www.cityarchrivercompetition.org.

St. Louis native Joe Buck is the top play-by-play man for Major League Baseball and the National Football League on FOX Sports.

“I am looking forward to moderating a forum that promises to be informational, educational and exciting for the future of our community,” Buck said.

Buck will be joined in hosting “Meet the Design Teams” by Stastny, the competition manager.

The Roberts Orpheum Theater is located at 416 North 9th Street in downtown St. Louis. Public parking is available across the street.

Also while in St. Louis, the teams will explore the competition area, be briefed on project issues and the values of the national park, and get to know the region and its people.

To help the teams understand, from a personal standpoint, what the Arch stands for and the values it represents to our region and our nation’s history, members of the public are invited to share their thoughts, stories, photos and video. Competition organizers will post selections to the Web site and include them in a presentation to the competitors. This will help the teams in their effort to meet the design goals. Submissions can be posted to the Community Connections page of the Web site or to the City Arch River facebook and Twitter accounts.

Continuing education credits, HSW, will be awarded by the American Institute of Architects St. Louis for the April 28 event.

[SOURCE: City+Arch+River competition]

Competition Shortlist is a who’s who of design

Recently the contest organisers of the Gateway Arch Design Competition announced the shortlist for the second round of the competition and it reads like a who’s who of built environment design from around the world. This competition is shaping up to be one of the most interesting for 2010 and the jury will have a hard job on their hands picking a winner.

The lead designers and design teams are:

  • Behnisch Architekten, Gehl Architects, Stephen Stimson Associates, Buro Happold, Transsolar, Applied Ecological Services, Limno-Tech, Herbert Dreiseitl, Arne Quinze, Peter MacKeith, Eric Mumford
  • FIT (Fully Integrated Thinking) Team – Arup, Doug Aitken Studio, HOK Planning Group, HOK
  • Michael Maltzan Architecture, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Richard Sommer, Buro Happold
  • Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Steven Holl Architects, Greenberg Consultants, Uhlir Consulting, HR&A Advisors, Guy Nordenson and Associates, Arup, LimnoTech, Ann Hamilton Studio, James Carpenter Design Associates, Elizabeth K. Meyer, Project Projects
  • PWP Landscape Architecture, Foster + Partners, Civitas, Ned Kahn, Buro Happold
  • Quennell Rothschild and Partners and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Vishkan Chakrabarti, Buro Happold, Atelier Ten, and Nicholas Baume
  • Rogers Marvel Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, Urban Strategies, Local Projects, Arup
  • SOM, BIG, Hargreaves Associates, Jaume Plensa, URS
  • Weiss/Manfredi, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Mark Dion

The nine design leaders and teams now have five weeks to complete their teams and present full qualifications to the competition jury, Stastny said.

In addition, local contractors, minority, disadvantaged, or women-owned businesses and others are invited to meet Feb. 18 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Old Court House with representatives of the short-listed design groups for potential teaming opportunities.

“This will be an excellent opportunity for these businesses to learn about the project and to begin considering participating,” Stastny said. “We look forward to a strong turnout.”

The final stage, Stage III, to take place over the summer, will include a 90-day design concept competition to explore the finalists’ design approach and test their working methodology.

The public will be invited to two events this spring and summer. A “meet the designers night” will be held in late April. This summer, there will be a public exhibition of the designs. Details will be available soon.

The final jury pick will be announced on Sept. 24, 2010. The project is set to be constructed by Oct. 28, 2015.

The new design is called for in the National Park Service’s General Management Plan, which was developed with extensive public input over an 18-month period and approved Nov. 23, 2009.

The competition is sponsored by the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation, which includes National Park Superintendent Tom Bradley, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, community leaders from Missouri and Illinois, academics, architects and national park advocates.

A full list of registrants for the competition, “Framing a Modern Masterpiece: The City + The Arch + The River 2015,” has also been released. It can be found with other competition information at www.cityarchrivercompetition.org.

Gateway Arch International Design Competition *UPDATE*

With the January 26 deadline looming for firms to register their interest in the international design competition and 90 firms already registering interest, the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation announced the members of  the competition jury. The jury consisting of landscape architects, architects, urban designers, critics, curators and a former Deputy Director of the National Park Service coming from across the USA.

The jury members are:
· Robert Campbell, architecture critic at The Boston Globe and contributing editor for Architectural Record

· Gerald Early, Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters and Director of the African and Afro-American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis

· Denis P. Galvin, former Deputy Director of the National Park Service

· Alex Krieger, founding principal of Chan Krieger Sieniewicz, architecture and urban design firm and professor at the Harvard School of Design, Cambridge, Mass.

· David C. Leland, an urban strategist and managing director of the Leland Consulting Group, Portland, Ore.

· Cara McCarty, curator of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York City

· Laurie D. Olin, partner and landscape architect of the OLIN Studio, Philadelphia

· Carol Ross Barney, founder and Principal of Ross Barney Architects, Chicago

The winning design will be announced in October 2010, with the resulting work completed by October 28, 2015 – the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Arch.

Firms have until Jan. 26, 2010 to register for the competition and submit for Stage I of the competition. The jury will then select those firms with the most outstanding portfolios to continue in the competition.

Additional information can be found at www.cityarchrivercompetition.org.

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