London-based David Chipperfield Architects has finished its design for the US$125m expansion of the Saint Louis Art Museum – one of the leading art museums in the US.

Work will start on the project in late 2008, with an expected completion date for 2011.

Housing more than 30,000 works of art, the expansion to the Beaux-Arts-style historic home in Forest Park, originally designed for the 1904 World’s Fair by Cass Gilbert, includes public spaces, a new exhibition space for the museum’s works and an area for touring exhibitions.

David Chipperfield says the plans take into account the importance of the present structure’s historical importance – it is the only remaining building from the 1904 World Fair.

“We sought not only to maintain the building and its historic Sculpture Hall as the symbolic heart of the museum, but also to create a strong relationship between landscape and architecture,” Chipperfield says.

The firm used a dark, polished concrete façade out of Missouri river aggregate to extend the feel on the east and south wings of the building and top-lit the spaces which feature floor-to-ceiling windows for views inside and out.

A new central staircase was also included to link the main level with a newer, lower-level public councourse with an expanded café and the existing museum shop and auditorium.

By staff writer