Urban Gallery 01

Site: St. Louis, MO, United States

Status: Conceptual Design

Program: Cultural

Client: Art St. Louis

When Art St. Louis was unable to move into the Washington Avenue space, they considered another interior build-out space on Grand Avenue. Located near a performance theater, symphony, public television station, and art galleries of multiple scales, the existing building, the Woolworth Building, placed Art St. Louis as an entry to and at the edge of the historic cultural center. The building is characterized by an open floor plan interrupted by large frequent columns sized for a pre-depression era tall building. Vertically truncated to meet economic demands, however, the building sits as only a large base occupying a significant corner of Grand Center.  The building’s curved art-deco awning provided an opportunity to shadow its rounded surface with an articulated scaffold-like translucent media skin. This, in turn, signals the prominent corner and introduces light and media into the performance district. By twisting this vertical awning, it projects light between the space of the sidewalk and acts as an overhead projection screen.  The experience of walking along Grand Avenue towards the famous Fox Theater becomes compressed between the overhead awning and the media projected onto the surface of the sidewalk. From here, the awning structure turns the corner into an alley separating the Woolworth Building and the Fox Theater.  This alley receives heavy traffic during show times as pedestrians spill out of the theater at intermission and closing.  It also serves as an entrance from Grand Avenue into a long linear block of public institutions.  As in the Urban Gallery I, digital media spills into these public-street zones to encourage movement into a street-level gallery entry and a hidden primary exhibition space.