Clients, colleagues, and friends have inquired regarding my thoughts on the proposed Studio Gang project, One Hundred, revealed this past week. While still in the early stages and much can change in the design process as projects develop, my response has been consistent. At Trivers, we strive for all of our work to be contextual, yet modern in its place in time. Some may argue that One Hundred is an anomaly, that it is too different for its site or St. Louis. It is frustrating as a non-native that I often hear “well, it’s good enough for St. Louis” or “do you think people here are ready for that”. I ask, were the people of St. Louis ready for something as bold as the Gateway Arch, the Lambert terminal, or the McDonnell Planetarium?
My position is that it’s quite right for this site. Something of this height, this scale, this atypical massing is appropriate for a site that affronts the country’s best urban park where the building can be viewed from afar, peering over the park’s tree line. The grand scale of Kingshighway affords the building to breathe as structures along Michigan Avenue affront Millennium Park or the street wall of 5th Avenue adjacent to Central Park. The proposed building has both historic and modern neighbors along Kingshighway and within the Central West End that complement its height and more massive scale.
Our firm is always pushing for our work to be more provocative and we feel consistently that St. Louis is hungry for more contemporary architecture which needs to be delivered by clients and designers alike. As a member of the architectural community, we keep pushing the advancement of architecture. The beauty of a city lies in the continual improvement that reflects the needs and desires of the community at that time. We must ensure that those needs represent the values we wish to convey to future generations. I applaud Studio Gang for creating some noise not only within the City but also internationally with their proposal, and I am delighted of the primarily positive responses from our community at the well-attended unveiling held this past Monday.
I’m reminded of a lecture delivered by Tony Fadell (a designer of the original iPod) during which he emphasized that we all have the power to improve the world around us, through design. Everything we touch that is not of the natural world, someone had a role in its existence. Our built environment is a reflection of who we are as community. We need to use mindset to move us toward environments that are reflective of the 21st century and the generations to come that will want to call St. Louis home. One Hundred could be a welcomed addition.