An international cast of architects, landscape architects, engineers, and artists has been selected to advance in the competition to improve the urban and waterfront connectivity around Eero Saarinen’s iconic St. Louis Arch. Nine groups were chosen out of a field of 49 who submitted to the first stage. The field will further be narrowed in April to four or five who will produce designs, and a winner will be selected in late September.
The Arch, formally known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and the Dan Kiley–designed landscape surrounding it are both National Historic Landmarks, and cannot be altered. The Arch is difficult to reach on foot from downtown, a condition long lamented by city officials and a prime focus of the competition. The National Park Service and competition funders hope the redesigned site, which is a popular destination for visitors, can add more activity to downtown and the waterfront.
The nine selected teams include a number of renowned firms, reflecting both the multidisciplinary nature of the project and the high profile of the competition:
1) Behnisch Architekten, Gehl Architects, Stephen Stimson Associates, Buro Happold, Transsolar, Applied Ecological Services, LimnoTech, Herbert Dreiseitl, Arne Quinze, Peter MacKeith, and Eric Mumford
2) FIT (Fully Integrated Thinking) Team: Arup, Doug Aitken Studio, HOK Planning Group, and HOK
3) Michael Maltzan Architecture, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Rafael Lozano‐Hemmer, Richard Sommer, and Buro Happold
4) 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, and Project Projects
5) PWP Landscape Architecture, Foster + Partners, Civitas, Ned Kahn, Buro Happold
6) Quennell Rothschild and Partners and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Vishaan Chakrabarti, Buro Happold, Atelier Ten, and Nicholas Baume
7) Rogers Marvel Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, Urban Strategies, Local Projects, and Arup
8) SOM, BIG, Hargreaves Associates, Jaume Plensa, and URS
9) Weiss/Manfredi, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, and Mark Dion
“The complexity of the teams reflects the complexity of the program,” said Tom Bradley, site superintendent for the National Park Service. “It’s a real urban design challenge.” The site is bordered by I-70, which has depressed lanes; busy Memorial Drive; and the hardscape waterfront, which is prone to heavy flooding.
Organized by competition advisor Donald Stastny, the jury includes Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell; Gerald Early, a professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Washington University; architects Alex Krieger and Carol Ross Barney; landscape architect Laurie Olin; Denis P. Gavlin, former director of the National Park Service; David C. Leland of the Leland Consulting Group; and Cara McCarty, curatorial director at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.