Recently, my wife Lindsey, an architectural historian, and I were taking a tour of mid-century modern landmarks in St Louis in preparation for an article she wrote for the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans. One of the stops was the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) off Delmar. Designed by Erich Mendelsohn in the late ’40s, the building was originally the Synagogue B’nai Amoona. The congregation had initially wanted a more traditional synagogue but eventually embraced Mendelsohn’s Expressionist design.
The building’s massing, with modest structures fronting the street, a sheltered courtyard, complex entry, and the chapel soaring beyond, evokes Aalto’s landmark Säynätsalo Town Hall, which was designed and built during the same period.
A truly remarkable piece of architecture tucked quietly away in University City.
Sketch from across the street
Photo from similar vantage point
An update on Emerson‘s Integrated Operations Center in Austin, Texas. Walls are framed and mostly finished, much of the ceiling grid is in place, and the envelope is nearly complete (pending air and water infiltration tests). You can really start to see the space taking shape.
Still to come are the glass feature walls and the conference furniture from Nienkämper.
Looking past the serpentine walls of the primary conference spaces
View into the Hawk Room
View into the Control Room from the entry corridor
Fox visited the jobsite at Emerson Process Management, Regulator Technologies under construction in McKinney Texas this week. Considerable progress has been made by the general contractor, Tribble and Stephens – ably assisted by our project manager, LML Group.
The steel frame for the office building is complete, with floor decks being poured on the second and third floors. Tilt wall panels for the Lab/Distribution block are being erected, and all should be in place within the next two weeks. Below are some photos of the jobsite taken by project designer Denise Fuehne
Concrete Tilt-Wall, east facade
Atrium space, with windows into Flow Lab
View north from Second Floor
That evening, LML Group sponsored a dinner at their McKinney offices featuring fresh Louisiana crayfish and shrimp. Very tasty!
Crayfish fresh from the bayou!
Fox Architects was selected by St. Louis University Hospital to design their new Center for Blood and Marrow Outpatient Transplant Clinic located in the the West Pavilion of the hospital’s main campus; the only facility of its kind in the St. Louis Region and one of only five nationally.
This project includes infusion areas, exam areas, and various support spaces such as physical therapy and a caregiver waiting room.
The use of natural textures, luminous colors as well as careful attention to lighting counteracted the existing low floor-to-deck height as well as low structural beams.
The abundance of natural light as well as the warmth created from the palette generates a soft comfortable space where one would normally expect a cold, sterile environment.
The transformation of the existing 9,900 S.F. storage area to a welcoming, healing space was completed this fall and began receiving patients today.
Click here to watch a piece on yesterday’s Grand Opening by KSDK Channel 5.
Click here to watch a piece on the Outpatient Clinic by KPLR Channel 11.
The iOps (Integrated Operations) Center at Emerson‘s Austin Offices is moving along. The slab was poured starting at 3am shortly before Thanksgiving. Poor Bob had to fly down and be on site at 2am to verify things were ready to go.
Click to view slab finishing video.
Steel erection began last week. You can now see the relatively simple pavilion enclosure taking shape, setting the stage for the complex geometry of the center within.
Steel erection begun
Sometimes it seems like the world is one big mash up of architecture, design and popular culture. Recently I was listening to an interview with Ken Jennings, the brainaic “Jeopardy” champion. He has just published a book called “Maphead“. In it, he discusses his love of all things map related – from ancient treasure maps to Google Maps to geocacheing.
In many ways, architects are map makers. Floorplans and sections are one kind of map. Anyone who’s ever measured an old building knows that its a form of discovery – searching out and understanding the way something fits together – finding the odd spaces that seem to be hidden in plain sight.
We also use “mapping” software, like Grasshopper. Each year when I sit in on the AIA St. Louis Scholarship interviews, I’m amazed at the student’s use of new mapping technology and its application in the design process. We do interviews and surveys to “map out” the culture of a client.
Mapping Process from Contour Maps to Analysis to Google Maps
… to the east side.
Well, just a few blocks east that is.
After 20 years at our current location, Fox Architects are please to announce we will be moving to a new location in January. Our new office will be in the Gateway Tower building located at 1 Memorial Drive. This 18th floor space has breathtaking panoramic views of downtown St. Louis and the riverfront.
Earlier this month, we began designing our office with the intention of being functional, open, and consistent with our brand. The result will be an inspiring work place with strong visual connections to the surrounding urban landscape.
The facility is being design with the intentions of achieving a LEED Gold rating. Some sustainable design features include:
- Open office plan for optimized daylighting and preserving views
- Energy efficient L.E.D fixtures with light dimming sensors
- Energy star appliances and low-flow fixtures
- Low VOC rated surfaces and finishes that are of high recycled content
Other noteworthy design features include:
- Multiple pin-up areas and teams rooms
- Expanded materials library
- Open studio space
- Kitchen gathering area
- Exposed concrete ceiling
This exciting news from our office confirms our commitments to the city of St. Louis and Sustianability efforts. We look forward to sharing updates. Check back soon for updates!
Time moves quickly. It seems like yesterday when we started working on the design for Emerson Regulator’s new headquarters in McKinney Texas. Actually, it was a year and a half ago. It’s great to see construction underway. These images are courtesy of our General Contractor, Tribble and Stephens, and our Project Manager, Larry Leonard of LML Group.
excavating for the Lab
Birdseye view of construction
Site looking south
It took a bit longer than expected, but Stinson Morrison Hecker’s new Clayton offices made LEED Silver. Some of the highlights of their LEED strategy include selecting a LEED certified site (the Centene Building), water use reduction, “Green Power“, recycled and regional material use, low emitting material specification and use of rapidly renewable materials.
It took a bit longer than expected – we held up submitting the application till the Centene Building finished their LEED Core and Shell application. After that was finished earlier this summer, we made our construction submission. Its an example of the timeline lag for the typical LEED application – design submissions are typically completed after the building starts construction, and construction applications happen after the building is finished.
Congratulations to Stinson and the rest of the design team, including Burns and McDonnell Engineers and Clayco Construction!
I was fortunate to be able to attend a seminar given by the State of Missouri Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on “Evaluating Buildings to Identify Best Possible Refuge Areas”. This was an all day seminar that culminated in breaking into small groups to complete an actual evaluation of a school in Wichita Kansas.
2 structural engineers from the east coast + one individual from SEMA gave the presentation. We began by reviewing damage caused by high winds/tornado’s from several recent storms. The graph of storm related damage from the past 50 years shows a significant upswing in storm related damage and injuries. We also reviewed test data from the labs at Texas Tech showing testing of various assemblies for their ability to stop storm debris (standard testing involves firing a 15 lb 2×4 from an air cannon). Assemblies designed to provide fire resistance, such as a metal stud/drywall 2 hour rated wall provide almost no resistance in this test. As one of our instructors said, “it’s like a hot knife through butter”.
There were several important takeaways from this course. The first would be to evaluate for “continuous load path”. In a high wind storm event, buildings are subjected to loading running counter to what is experienced normally. Where we architects are normally concerned with gravity loads (an wind loading – more on that later), during a tornado parts of the building are pulled upward. High winds moving over a roof cause uplift, tearing the roof off it’s frame. Pressure differentials can cause buildings to explode from the inside out. And that old wives tale about opening the windows to equalize the pressure is just that.
We also learned about FEMA’s guidelines for square footage per person in a refuge area (5SF/person – 10SF for wheelchair users) and briefly went over FEMA guideline 320 for design and construction of Safe Rooms.
This was an excellent presentation. If you have the opportunity, I would highly recommend attending