Posts tagged with "St. Louis":

Placeholder Alt Text

Washington University Plans New Field House, Cyclotron

washu_reno_01 Washington University in St. Louis will soon begin work on two major projects totaling $130 million, according to NextSTL. St. Louis’ Hastings+Chivetta will design the $120 field house expansion, an extensive addition to Washington University’s historic field house, built out from the 1903 Francis gymnasium. Clayton, MO-based Ottolino Winters Huebner will design a $10 million cyclotron, a particle accelerator used for medical imaging and for the synthesis of radioisotopes for pharmaceutical production. The university’s Dr. Michel Ter-Pogossian is considered the father of positron emission tomography (PET scans), a nuclear medical imaging technique that produces 3-D images of internal body processes. (Rendering: Hastings+Chivetta)  
Placeholder Alt Text

Eero Saarinen's Gateway Arch in St. Louis Broke Ground 50 Years Ago Today

Fifty years ago, the St. Louis waterfront was one gigantic parking lot after 40 blocks of the city's gritty industrial quarter were cleared in the late 1930s to create a site for a new Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. It took another two decades to get anything built, but on February 12, 1963, the missing slice of St. Louis began to change as ground was broken for Eero Saarinen's famous Gateway Arch that still defines St. Louis in one dramatic gesture. The posthumous groundbreaking (Saarinen died in 1961) of the stainless-steel-clad catenary arch captured the nation's imagination, and in December 1963, Popular Mechanics noted, "The Arch is America's newest and highest national monument, and certainly its most unique." It went on to correctly predict that "The majestic monument in gleaming stainless steel will be such a dominant landmark that it inevitably will come to symbolize St. Louis." The article goes on to discuss the construction challenges that lay ahead as the two 630-foot-tall sides of the arch were built independently and had to line up at the top with a margin of error of only 1/64 of an inch. Today, leaders in St. Louis and at the National Park Service are hurring to complete the next chapter of the Gateway Arch's history: remaking the landscape around the monument to better connect and engage with the surrounding city. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates's design won following a competition in 2010, and later this month, CityArchRiver, the organization overseeing the redevelopment, will hold a public meeting to report on the latest news and updates.
Placeholder Alt Text

Colloquium to Revisit the Building of Tadao Ando's Pulitzer Foundation in St. Louis

Tadao Ando's architecture strives for perfection, with glass-smooth concrete walls nearly as reflective as mirrors, ideal proportion and geometry creating a sacred sense of space, and design details that reveal no part of a building is too small for consideration. In fact, as one story goes, Ando requested that a foot-thick concrete wall at his Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis be rebuilt multiple times since it didn't meet his strict standards. The Pulitzer, one of only a handful of buildings the Japanese architect has completed in the United States and the first in the US intended for public use, opened in 2001, demurely set behind a concrete wall in the city's Grand Center neighborhood. This Friday and Saturday (February 8 and 9), the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts and Washington University in St. Louis are hosting the free Building Pulitzer colloquium looking back at the four-year construction period of Ando's Pulitzer Foundation. According to Liane Hancock, architecture professor at Louisiana Tech University and co-organizer of Building Pulitzer, "The goal of the colloquium is to reveal how a building designed by an internationally recognized architect is actually brought to fruition." Multiple events taking place at Ando's Pulitzer Foundation and at the Fumihiko Maki-designed Steinberg Auditorium at Washington University will consider the Pulitzer's design and four-year construction process. Hancock continued:
Tadao Ando asked for one simple thing—that the local designers and contractors give their personal best to the project. As the team learned more and more how to meet the challenges of the building, their personal best continuously improved. What is pretty amazing is how both the architects of record and the contractors both talk about the environment that was built to encourage collaboration, problem solving, and innovation to meet the tolerances that Ando requested.
A number of events are planned, including a tour of the Pulitzer on Friday and a series of lectures and discussions by architecture professors Liane Hancock, Eric Hoffman of Washington University, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, and others. A keynote lecture on Friday, "Collaboration and Inovation Outside of Japan," will be delivered by Masataka Yano, associate at Tadao Ando Architect & Associates and project architect for the Pulitzer. Topics at the Building Pulitzer colloquium include:
  • the working structure between Tadao Ando’s team and the St. Louis team (“Working with Osaka”)
  • the realization of Ando’s design through unique methods of construction (“Translating Design Intent: Developing Means and Methods”)
  • the development of a work environment that fostered construction excellence (“Personal Best: Creating a Receptive Environment for Construction Excellence”)
Professor Liane Hancock and Steve Morby, facilities and construction manager at the Pulitzer, are in the process of writing a book, also called Building Pulitzer, that will include information from the colloquium and interviews with Morby and other key players in the building of the Pulitzer. Building Pulitzer is free and open to the public. More information and a schedule of events can be found at Washington University in St. Louis.  
Placeholder Alt Text

St. Louis' Last Gasometer is No More

A collection of strange industrial relics in St. Louis has gone the way of many before it, as the city’s last gasometer has fallen. Gasometers are storage devices for natural and coal gas, built during the 20th century but abandoned after 2000 when underground storage became the preferred method. The Laclede Gas Company Pumping Station at 3615 Chevrolet, built around 1920, was the area’s last. Michael R. Allen wrote an epitaph for the bygone piece of infrastructure, providing a remembrance that asks, are industrial relics worth preserving? Basically silos for gas, the structures leave behind industrial skeletons that are sometimes stunning, always intriguinga Flickr group devoted to their documentation has more than 1,000 entries. They are more common in Europe than in the U.S., but Laclede’s St. Louis structures were the most notable on this side of the Atlantic. In Vienna they are celebrated, with four architectural teams currently converting four gasometers for new uses.
Placeholder Alt Text

National Blues Museum Targets 2014 Opening in St. Louis

Cleveland has the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Kansas City has the American Jazz Museum, Nashville has Music City, and now St. Louis looks likely to become home to the National Blues Museum in 2014. Cue up “St. Louis Blues.” Pinnacle Entertainment made a $6 million contribution to the National Blues Museum in December, somewhat undercutting a similar idea previously discussed for Chicago. The cash was a major boost for the project, which until then had less than $1 million in “soft commitments.” The total cost is $13.5 million to $14 million. Tax credits will help cover some of the gap, but the project director told STL Today they still need $2 million. Developers in St. Louis hope the 23,000-square-foot museum will help anchor the downtown Mercantile Exchange District, near hotels and casinos also owned by Pinnacle.
Placeholder Alt Text

On View> Sreshta Rit Premnath's "Folding Rulers" Explore Visual Representation

Sreshta Rit Premnath: Folding Rulers Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis 3750 Washington Blvd Through December 30, 2012 Sreshta Rit Premnath’s exhibit, Folding Rulers, at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis questions processes of representation, attempting to identify why certain objects, images, events, and discourses are chosen to represent larger ideas, cultural periods, or histories. Using various mediums, Premnath investigates why and how icons, places, and people— specifically the concept of power—are so symbolic. By analyzing and reducing these symbols and their meanings, his new work offers new readings of people, places, and times.
Placeholder Alt Text

High Speed Rail picks up speed between Chicago and St. Louis

Midwest train travelers will enjoy a quicker passage, as Amtrak approves a new top speed of 110 mph for a section of its Chicago-St. Louis route. Though trains will only accelerate to the new top speed over a 15-mile segment, officials said another $1.5 billion investment over three years of upgrades will bring the rest of the track up to speed. The current top speed is 79 mph over most of the route. Instead of 5 and a half hours, future trips could be under 4 hours. Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak tested a new system of triggers for highway crossing gates earlier this year. Amtrak's Midwest presence has seen a significant ridership boost, following trends around the country. Transit in general may be enjoying a small renaissance, with the CTA counting 16 months of rail and bus line increases. Despite setting ridership records, Amtrak is losing money and faces an uncertain future.
Placeholder Alt Text

New SLU Renderings Sow Worry for Suburbanizing Downtown St. Louis

Saint Louis University announced in January that its law school would move downtown, winning praise from many who saw the move as a reinvestment in the city’s urban core. NextSTL sounded an alarm, however, over new renderings of the Joe and Loretta Scott Law Center that show a closed circular driveway along Chestnut Street—a downtown thoroughfare whose theoretical closure would amount to “suburbanizing the central business district,” in the words of NextSTL writer Alex Ihnen. The Board of Public Service would have to okay such a closure, which according to the Street Department has not yet been submitted for approval.
Placeholder Alt Text

Construction Fully Funded for St. Louis' Loop Trolley Project

Plans for a fixed-track trolley system in St. Louis got a $22 million infusion last week, when the Federal Transit Administration followed through with plans to fund construction of the city’s long-awaited Loop Trolley system. The Loop Trolley Transportation Development District would administer a 2.2-mile track from the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park to the University City Library—part of a regional plan for more sustainable transit. Three hybrid electric trolleys will make nine stops along the way, offering connection with the existing light rail MetroLink system. Fares would cover almost half of the system’s operating costs, with the rest coming from advertising, institutional subsidies, and the District. A ground-breaking ceremony is expected this fall, but no construction date has been set. St. Louis’ first Loop Trolleys may run as soon as 2014. Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Los Angeles have all mulled over streetcar, light rail or trolley plans in recent years.
Placeholder Alt Text

Smaller Airports Struggle with Vacant Space

The airline industry was hit hard by the recession—2011 had fewer takeoffs than any year since 2002. Airports in cities like Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Oakland are feeling the effects of that contraction, leaving one-time regional hubs and smaller airports with vacant and underused terminals. A report on airport building reuse commissioned last year by the Transportation Research Board found enplanements were down more than 60 percent in St. Louis over the last decade. Growing interest in regional rail transit could place further pressure on smaller airports to get creative with their extra space, especially as they face costly demolition bills and shrinking revenue.
Placeholder Alt Text

Steedman Fellowship Winner Heralded for Interdisciplinary Design

Canadian/Norwegian architect Jason Mrdeza has won Washington University in Saint Louis’ 2012 Steedman Fellowship in Architecture International Design Competition. Sponsored by the College of Architecture and the Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, the biennial competition is open to young architects from around the world within the first eight yeas of practice. The winner receives a $50,000 prize, one of the largest competition prizes in the U.S., to support study and research abroad. Mrdeza’s winning project, “Mediating Adjacencies: Inspiring Collaboration within Context,” was chosen out of 120 entrees. Craig Dykers, principal at Snøhetta, created the 2012 competition program calling for a new net-zero facility that would house and stimulate interdisciplinary cooperation between the Sam Fox School’s art, architecture, and design graduate programs while integrating five existing buildings. Dykers served as jury chair for the competition, alongside Susannah Drake, principle at dlandstudio, and Sarah Dunn and Martin Felsen, principals at UrbanLab. Mrdeza’s winning design works to strengthen interdisciplinary connections within the school and university at large while highlighting the divisions between public and private functions. Classrooms, galleries, and other public and semi-public spaces are located on the lower level of a large, three-story structure. A public pathway cuts through the arrangement, utilizing the site's gentle slope to draw in visitors while the building's transparency allows onlookers to passively engage in the activities happening inside the design schools. This first-floor, dubbed the “mound,” would be topped with an active green roof, and upper levels would be contained within five large “lantern blocks.” These structures, clad in luminescent PVC panels and set at slight angels from one another, would each correspond to a different discipline and contain offices and studio space for their respective programs. “The project negotiates the need for internal reflection while catalyzing meetings between disciplines and individuals,” wrote Mrdeza in his proposal. “Divisions between public and private are retained without hindering interdisciplinary and exta-institutional collaboration.” Mrdeza will use his award to study connections between landscape, architecture, and sustainability while traveling to Japan and other sites in Asia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and South America.
Placeholder Alt Text

St. Louis' Flying Saucer Saved

Del Taco in St. Louis (Courtesy Modern STL) Preserving mid-century modern architecture has become a hot-button issue around the country as aging icons are becoming old enough to be called historic. Last year a citizen-led preservation effort to save the unlikely icon in St. Louis, a threatened gas-station-turned-fast-food-restaurant with a distinctive concrete saucer, was launched. Now, it looks like the building will once again become a burrito stand as the developer has confirmed the building will house a Starbucks and a Chipotle. NextSTL has the details.