FRAMING A MODERN MASTERPIECE | The City + The Arch + The River was an international design competition organized by national park supporters, the design community, and leadership from both Missouri and Illinois and funded through private contributions. The National Park Service provided the framework for change through its Fall 2009 General Management Plan and the competition was supported by federal, state and local government officials, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
The 10-month competition presented the opportunity of a lifetime for architects, landscape architects and designers. The challenge was great – to take one of America’s first urban park sites and weave it into the fabric of the St. Louis region – as well as connect it with both sides of the Mississippi River.
Integral to the competition was the achievement of a balance between new ideas and the retention of the character-defining features of the site, the core of which is a National Historic Landmark. The Arch and the grounds immediately surrounding it would be honored. But the larger area surrounding the Arch, the downtown St. Louis entry ways and both the Missouri and Illinois riverfronts were open to the inspiration of designers and architects.
The Jury appreciated and honored the extraordinary partnership between the City of St. Louis, the National Park Service, and the community leaders. The recommendation of the Jury, to select MMVA, was based on a belief that as each and every part of this great puzzle evolves, the whole will coalesce into an extraordinary regional and national attraction that is sustainable functionally, economically, and culturally.