The designs of the five finalists in the competition to link St. Louis’ Gateway Arch grounds to the city and the river were released today in St. Louis. The competition should be of special interest to art lovers for several reasons: The Gateway Arch is the largest, most expensive work of public art in America and the Arch probably played a key role in enabling the earthworks movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne has called it, “one of the most intriguing design competitions now underway in any American city.” And each competing team was expected to have an artist on board. [Image: Behnisch team’s museum view.]
Here are the five competing groups with links to their designs and presentations (as well as links to the artist/studio with which each team would work):
- Behnisch (which proposes an event space for artists rather than a single work/concept);
- Michael Van Valkenburgh (Ann Hamilton Studio);
- PWP Landscape Architecture, Foster + Partners, Civitas (Ned Kahn Studios);
- Skidmore, Owings, Merrill, Hargreaves and BIG (Jaume Plensa);
- Weiss/Manfredi (Mark Dion);
Most of the project teams have yet to fully detail how the artist(s) on their team would contribute to the project. Two exceptions are Skidmore’s plan, which would place Jaume Plensa’s Whispering Leaves in Kiener Plaza [at left, and on pages 106-109 in this presentation] and Weiss/Manfredi’s plan, which includes a detailed brief from Mark Dion about recommended elements.
Dion’s recommendation has three parts:
- “[A] type of programming which hybridizes the approach of several of the more energetic and inventive sculpture parks, all of which also feature ambitious public event programming such as film screenings, musical performances, and theatrical arts. The two examples I offer are the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, New York and the Olympic Sculpture Park of the Seattle Art Museum.”;
- “An annual sculpture invitational exhibition located primarily at Kiener Plaza. This exhibition of outdoor works should have a direct link to the sculpture performance and digital studios. While Kiener Plaza occupies a core for an exhibition program, it is imaginable that a variety of projects could take form in other locations in the park or in the city as well.”; and
- The commissioning of significant earthworks for the Illinois side of the river.
(Dion’s proposal is pages 145-147 in this presentation.)
Related: The St. Louis Beacon’s package on the announcement. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s package on the announcement. I’ll add links to Hawthorne and the Chicago Tribune’s Blair Kamin when they’re available.