Celebrating a Regional Icon through Historical Restoration

  • Client

    Saint Louis Art Museum

  • Project Title

    Saint Louis Art Museum Improvements Plan

  • Location

    St. Louis, MO

  • Size

    30 acres

"The collaboration SWT brought to the design process was tremendous, as was the overall quality, care, and attention to detail."

Dan Esarey, CFM

Former Building Operations Director, Saint Louis Art Museum

These improvements have only bolstered the prominence of what was already considered an established icon.

Project Scale

  • Object

  • Site

  • Community

  • System

  • Region


  • On the Books

  • Under Construction

  • Recently Completed

  • Design Study

  • Established

Project Type

  • Parks and Open Space
  • Civic Amenities
  • Placemaking and Branding

For more than 100 years, the Saint Louis Art Museum has stood atop Forest Park as a physical and prominent reminder of the 1904 World’s Fair. The museum and its site, known now at Art Hill, served as the fair’s center piece and became the focal point of the 1,200-acre park. Following the fair, however, most of the site fell into disrepair without thought for its future use.

To honor the fair’s centennial celebration, a park-wide revitalization effort brought improvements to Art Hill that would restore the space to its former grandeur, and create a new iconic front door to the museum. Fine Arts Drive was narrowed and converted into a granite-paved terrace of the grandest scale surrounding the historic statue of the city’s namesake, King Louis IX. The timeless design of the plaza is simple with details reflecting the Beaux Arts vernacular of the museum.

Twin pedestrian promenades lined with a formal bosque of trees radiate from the statue, and terminate each at symmetrical sculpture plinths. From here, visitors get a glimpse back to the museum and down to the Grand Basin.


"To be involved in the renovation of this iconic space in close collaboration with one of our profession’s most influential practitioners was an experience that has perfused itself throughout so much of our proceeding work."

Jim Wolterman

Partner, Founder

American Society of Landscape Architects

  • Central States, 2008
  • Award of Merit
  • St. Louis Chapter, 2007
  • Honor Award