LEED BD+C: New Construction v2.2
St. Louis Art Museum Expansion
LEED Gold 2013
The challenge was to build a world class museum to sustain and enhance the exhibition and storage of large scale paintings, the visiting public’s experience, and the staff workplace.
The Saint Louis Art Museum East Building Expansion Project is a landmark 200,000sf expansion to the historic Saint Louis Art Museum in Forest Park.
Designed by architect Sir David Chipperfield with technical leadership by HOK, the sleek modern structure adjoins the Cass Gilbert-designed main building constructed for the 1904 World’s Fair. The project marks the most significant expansion in the Museum’s history, providing 82,452sf of galleries, amenities, collections, support space with 128,979sf of parking.
The challenge was to build a world class museum to sustain and enhance the exhibition and storage of large scale paintings, the visiting public’s experience, and the staff workplace. Virtually every design issue inside the building was driven by the artwork - from creating a perfect viewing experience to maintaining optimal environmental conditions to the protection of the artwork.
The most significant site impact was Forest Park’s requirement that entities cannot reduce parkland. To accommodate a new building on the site, existing surface parking lots were removed and a 300 car parking facility was built underground so the new building could be built on top. This balanced the parkland / permeable surface ratio to the previous condition.
The most notable design feature in the galleries is the daylighting system which filters, reflects and distributes indirect light to fill the galleries from custom overhead skylights. Controlled horizontal light is allowed at the entrance, restaurant and window galleries. During the day, vertical shades at the window galleries adjust to changing light conditions by deploying translucent shades or blackout shades in some combination appropriate to exterior conditions. Automated building controls monitor and continually adjust these conditions in each gallery, and after the museum closes, the BAS turns off lights and automatically closes both the vertical and horizontal shades under the skylights to reduce UV exposure and further preserve the artwork.
The team was challenged to meet LEED Gold with the imperative that the art be conserved to exacting standards and maintaining strict tolerances for temperature and humidity was often counter to energy savings and occupants’ personal control of the environment. In many ways however, designing to criteria for art created a better environment for visitors, and yielded a facility which meets the cultural aspirations of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to experience this valuable and growing cultural archive.