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Foster + Partners shortlisted in contest to revamp St Louis Gateway Arch

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Foster + Partners is one of five shortlisted practices competing to revamp Eero Saarinen’s iconic St Louis Gateway Arch in the US

Teamed with PWP Landscape Architecture and Civitas the London-based firm will present its vision for the 190m-tall monument to the competition jury on 26 August.

Other shortlisted entries include: Weiss/Manfredi, MVVA,  Behnisch and a SOM-Hargreaves-BIG team.

The project aims to revamp the Gateway Arch park and parts of the Missouri and Illinois banks of the Mississippi River.

In 1947 Eero Saarinen’s arch design won a design competition for a new monument commemorating the westward expansion of the United States, known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

Project-backer the US National Park Service seeks to encourage repeated visits and revitalise the area as a place for work and leisure.

The project is set to open on 28 October, 2015 - the 50th anniversary of the Arch’s completion.

Shortlisted projects


Weiss, Washington Avenue

Weiss, Washington Avenue

The Framing a Modern Masterpiece competition will enhance, extend, and transform the identity of the iconic Gateway Arch and the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Weiss/Manfredi is committed to the dynamic integration of architecture, art, infrastructure, and landscape design. As project lead, Weiss/Manfredi will direct the design and development of the project and will coordinate the team’s efforts.

Our Core Team of consultants includes Magnusson Klemencic Associates, innovative civil and structural engineers; artist Mark Dion, who explores relationships between art, history, science, and the natural world; St. Louis-based landscape architects, SWT Design who bring local knowledge and experience; programming and economic development experts HR&A Advisors; and Beyer Blinder Belle who bring experience with architecture and planning in historic and landmarked settings. Our Core Team forms a focused and agile team capable of bringing together multiple disciplines in an integrated design process. Our unique strength comes from our shared success in world-class design involving coordination with local, state, and federal agencies; historic and landmarked settings; highly visible and symbolic spaces; urban waterfronts with complex infrastructural and industrial conditions; historically, ecologically, and culturally rich settings; and projects that catalyze sustainable economic and community development. We will leverage this diverse set of capabilities throughout the project to address the complex conditions of the site and program and to guide the efforts of our Comprehensive Team of consultants.

Our Comprehensive Team of consultants represents a depth and breadth of knowledge and includes: Transpo Group traffic engineers, Davis Langdon cost estimators, Biohabitats regenerative ecologists, Atelier Ten sustainability advisors, Focus St. Louis + Added Dimension community outreach consultants, and others for security, graphics, playground, food service, code consulting, MEP/FP engineering, surveying, shoreline engineering, and local representation. In addition to the Comprehensive team, Weiss/Manfredi has developed a group of Consulting Specialists such as D.I.R.T. studio and including archeologists, historians, and hydrologists that will ensure design concepts are founded on the most informed, diverse, and relevant foundation of knowledge available.

The Framing a Modern Masterpiece competition has the obvious potential to connect cities as well as the urgent need to bridge communities, extend economies, recover ecologies, and intertwine divergent histories for a sustainable future. From a context of social, cultural, ecological, and infrastructural complexity, an innovative and elegant design will emerge. We believe this competition represents a compelling opportunity to frame a transformative sequence of experiences that engage the complex histories and identities that define our communities, cities, and nation.

Read the Weiss/Manfredi competition board


PWP Landscape Architecture, Foster + Partners, Civitas

Foster + Partners with PWP Landscape Architecture and Civitas, Old Courthouse

Foster + Partners with PWP Landscape Architecture and Civitas, Old Courthouse

PWP Landscape Architecture, Foster + Partners, and Civitas are committed to a seamless integration of architecture, landscape, and urban design that will respect the Eero Saarinen- and Dan Kiley-designed Arch and grounds while re-imagining the visitor experience, re-engaging the memorial with its natural and built environment, and elevating the meaning and performance of the landscape. Our team includes specialists and experts who combine skill, local knowledge, and a deep understanding of history.

We will approach the competition as a research project, investigating the many natural and cultural layers of the site as an artifact, as a place, and as a memorial. Each of us brings a unique perspective to this investigation, but we share a commitment to derive a sophisticated design solution from a thorough understanding of the site, a solution that will respect history while expanding possibilities for the future.

PWP Landscape Architecture has long challenged traditional concepts of design through an exploration of the relationship between art and culture. As exhibited through such award-winning projects as the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Toyota Municipal Museum of Art, the work results from knowledge of history and tradition, sympathy with contemporary needs, understanding of both conceptual and material processes, mastery of construction, and attention to detail. At the National September 11th Memorial in New York, PWP has incorporated the intensive visitor demands of the eagerly anticipated monument into the design of a robust new park space for Lower Manhattan.

Foster + Partners has established a strong reputation for architectural achievements worldwide. In conceiving and executing interventions within such historic sites and institutions as Trafalgar Square, the Reichstag, the British Museum, and Project Honor in Racine, Wisconsin, among others, Foster + Partners has a proven ability to reinvigorate environments through limited, deft means.

Civitas is well-known for pioneering approaches to urban redevelopment throughout the country. In the firm’s work planning for the Great Rivers Greenway District and the Washington University Medical Center and strategizing the regeneration of St. Louis’s NorthSide, Civitas brings expansive thinking and creative understanding of the physical, political, and economic context of St. Louis.

The PWP, Foster, Civitas team also brings the sustainable-site-systems and structural-engineering prowess of Buro Happold, the graphic artistry of 2×4, Inc., the venue-programming intelligence of Lord Cultural Resources, and the public-art experience of Ned Kahn Studios, along with the skills of many other talented experts. In St. Louis, the team includes Mackey Mitchell Architects, Cole & Associates Civil Engineers, Vector Communications, Washington University Professor Dorothée Imbert, CBB Transportation Engineers, M3 Engineering Group, and Code Consultants, Inc.

Read the PWP Landscape Architecture, Foster + Partners, and Civitas competition board



MVVA, West Gateway

MVVA, West Gateway

 The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (JNEM) is defined by the single grand design gesture at its center. The monumentality of the Gateway Arch makes it impossible to transform the Memorial and its grounds with one bold stroke. Instead, the MVVA team proposes a network of finer-grained interventions incorporating natural science, engineering, and design into a holistic philosophy of ecological urbanism. The city has an ecology. It is a complex ecosystem in which the divides between the built and the organic, between nature and culture, break down. Our philosophy seeks to underscore and celebrate the blurring of these lines through art, architecture, engineering, and public programming—with revolutionary landscape design at the center of it all.

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates is a leading practitioner of this new ecological-urban paradigm, and the MVVA team structure is based on our experience synthesizing the efforts of many disciplines to achieve positive reciprocity between the constructed and living environments. United by a commitment to sustainability in all its forms, the MVVA team is composed of interdisciplinary pairs, each crucial to addressing the dramatic range of interrelated issues—of urban renewal, preservation, commemoration, social connections, and ecological restoration—that are reflected in the competition’s scope and ambitions. Each member of the MVVA team has tackled a project of this complexity and scope before, making this team uniquely positioned to hit the ground running in a proven collaborative mode.

Responding to the Memorial’s monumental scale is the central challenge of this assignment. Given the site’s sheer immensity, sectional complexity, and competing scales—all in a parcel surrounded by a crushing maze of infrastructure—we believe that expanding the site’s scalar and experiential range is crucial to engaging the wide-ranging competition goals. The creation of a new range of more intimate experiences, based primarily in landscape, will be the main engine for the transformation of the Memorial and its relationship with both the city and the river. We imagine a powerfully connective landscape that operates simultaneously in several ways—a landscape that will not only draw visitors from around the world but also serve as a new locus of civic energy in the daily lives of the citizens of St. Louis. The redesigned Memorial will be 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.

Read the MVVA team competition board


Behnisch Team

Behnisch Team, overall scheme

Behnisch Team, overall scheme

 The Gateway Arch of St. Louis, an international icon of stainless steel and concrete, was daunting in its realization as it was daring in its design. Yet, for all of the vitality of Saarinen’s Arch and Kiley’s Arch grounds, the modernist masterpiece remains in striking paradox to its setting. Already an impressive symbol, this urban National Park has yet to achieve its full potential as an active catalyst for urban cohesion and renewal in this most centered American landscape.

Invigorating a rich cultural and natural landscape such as this deserves a custom tailored team to address the unique and complex aspects of the project. “The City + The Arch + The River” demands the attention of inspired people relating to the fields of architecture, urban design and landscape architecture. Thus, the triad of design leadership is initiated and conducted by Behnisch Architekten led by Stefan Behnisch and Christof Jantzen in collaboration with Gehl Architects, and Stephen Stimson Associates.

Our work is strongly influenced by rigorous analysis and community engagement. In creating landscapes that express cultural values and an environmental ethic, great specificity is required to inform the vision and ideas that will transpire. The extended project team comprises a network of insightful regional designers, engineers, and scholars, with rooted connections to the city, its landmark and collective ecologies. These respected firms and individuals will work in concert with the lead designers offering unique cultural sensibilities as well as a degree of impartiality.

In considering the challenges of invigorating the Arch Grounds, the greater St. Louis region and the Mississippi River, our design approach intends to utilize a strategic series of design moves, evolutionary in nature, to arrive at a transcendent, holistic, visionary statement – a “catalytic main event” that resonates with an international community. The most significant part of any design rests in “civic sustainability” – the ability to sustain the present and future needs and ambitions of a larger, diverse community. This shared fundamental principle is articulated in the team’s work, which emphasizes the human dimension of the public realm.

Our experience has revealed that collective ambitions are always more easily reached where we find citizens who care deeply about their built environment. We are enthusiastically vested in creating a collaborative link between the local community and the design team, resulting in world class innovative solutions which respect and preserve the unique heritage while planning for the great future of the Jefferson National Expansion memorial and the greater St. Louis region.

Read the Behnisch team competition board

SOM, Hargreaves, BIG

SOM, North Look Out

SOM, North Look Out


Our team is made up of international designers, artists, engineers, environmentalists and economists who have worked in complex city projects and urban riverfronts throughout the world. We know one another well and have carefully developed the full team to balance international and local St. Louis talent.

1. The Memorial and its Message: Stewardship, Respect and Restoration; Curating Culture

Our team will strive to respect the modern masterpiece and its grounds. We will re-envision the core National Park Service exhibits and examine how to increase the flow of public life, and envision active uses on the East St. Louis side within the Memorial Addition.

2. The Connections: Connecting to the River and the Neighborhoods

Our team will seek an eloquent vision for the Mississippi Riverfront as it is now and what it can become in the future. We will develop ideas which will strengthen St. Louis and East St. Louis relationships with the River and build new, stronger and more connected neighborhoods around the Memorial grounds. We are committed to a healthier, more accessible, and richer Riverfront.

3. The Two Cities: Strengthening Employment, Income and Population

Drawing on our team’s proven ability to transform big ideas into clear economic strategies and constructed reality, we will strive to make this project a global model of how the two Cities can reclaim their heritage, and revitalize the underused riverfront lands along the River.

4. The Conversation: Listening to the Community, Engaging Bright Young Minds

Many communities touch the Mississippi River and view the Memorial. Our team will develop a plan to engage and excite bright young minds.

Read the SOM, Hargreaves, BIG competition board


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