ST. LOUIS, MO.-
The Board of Commissioners of the Saint Louis Art Museum
announces the selection of St. Louis-based TAO + Lee Associates, Inc. as architect for the Museum’s South Building Education Center.
As part of the Art Museum’s expansion, currently underway, a dedicated school and tour group entrance, located to the south of the Museum, will lead visitors to an expanded Education Center in the South Building. TAO + Lee Associates will execute the design concept master plan for the Education Center and the South Building entry experience.
"Expanded classrooms will allow us to expand our educational offerings, and the new entry will help ease congestion on Fine Arts Drive, while assuring the safety of the tens of thousands of school children who visit the Museum every year," said Brent R. Benjamin, Museum director. "The experience of Peter Tao and Helen Lee and their sensitive approach to understanding the visitor’s needs will be a great benefit to this project."
Designed by London-based David Chipperfield, the more than 200,000-square-foot addition to the Art Museum, under construction since January 2010, will provide new galleries, public space, and a 300-space, below-grade parking garage, as well as a new, fully accessible entrance on Fine Arts Drive. A new central staircase will more clearly connect the Main Level to the Lower Level, and a new public concourse will serve an expanded café, the Museum Shop and the new parking garage. The public concourse will also link visitors to the Auditorium and Education Center.
"The design of the education space will create a welcoming place for the visitor, accommodate varying teaching needs, evoke curiosity and reinforce the appreciation of art," said Peter Tao, owner and founder of TAO + Lee Associates.
TAO + Lee Associates, Inc. is an award winning design firm led by owners Peter Tao and Helen Lee. The St. Louis-based firm, which was founded in 1995, is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) with experience in commercial, cultural, educational and hospitality projects. The firm was selected from a national field of 25 that responded to the Museum's request for proposals.
Tarlton/Pepper/KAI, through a joint venture, is the general contractor for the Museum's expansion project.