SAINT LOUIS, MO.-The Board of Commissioners of the Saint Louis Art Museum today announced the appointment of noted British architect David Chipperfield to design an expansion of its historic facility in Forest Park. Following a ten‑month international search, Chipperfield was appointed by the Museum’s Board of Commissioners on the recommendation of its Architectural Selection Advisory Committee.
London-based David Chipperfield Architects has won some of Europe’s most prestigious commissions, including the restoration of the Neues Museum and master plan for Museum Island in Berlin; the Museum of Modern Literature in Marbach, Germany; and the redesign of Venice’s historic cemetery island, San Michele. His U.S. projects include the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa; the Anchorage Museum of History and Art; and the Des Moines Central Library.
“With his experience, philosophy, and international stature David Chipperfield is an ideal choice for our expansion,” said Saint Louis Art Museum Director Brent R. Benjamin.
The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive art museums, housing more than 30,000 works of art. Its collections include works of exceptional quality from virtually every culture and time period. Its historic home in Forest Park was designed for the 1904 World’s Fair by architect Cass Gilbert.
The current expansion and the intensive five-year planning sequence that underlies it were envisioned in the Art Museum’s 2000 Strategic Plan, which was developed with significant community input.
“Over the past 125 years, strategic acquisitions by the Museum and magnificent gifts from local benefactors have created a collection that places the Museum among the top ten comprehensive art museums in the country,” Benjamin said. “With limited gallery space, however, major works by such artists as Matisse and Picasso are confined to storage, and entire collections can only be viewed on a rotating basis.”
In 2003, a long term space study outlined the amount and type of space needed to appropriately house the Museum’s growing collections and expanding programs. The expansion is expected to encompass approximately 120,000 square feet – a 40 percent increase in space.
“It’s an honor to be selected for such an important expansion in such a magnificent setting,” Chipperfield said. “We envision an expansion that will enhance the presentation of the Museum’s extraordinary collection and create an environment for contemplation and dialogue in symmetry with the natural beauty of Forest Park.”
Benjamin praised the work of the selection committee, which traveled extensively to view other museum expansions and interview potential candidates. In all, the committee gave consideration to more than 100 candidates from five continents before selecting David Chipperfield Architects.