Size: 90,000 SF
Type: Municipal Land Development
PROJECT OF THE YEAR: COMMUNITY
Owner – Gateway Foundation, St. Louis, MO
Architect/Designer – Studio Durham Architects, St. Louis, MO
General Contractor – BSI Construction Inc, St. Louis, MO
Masonry Contractor – Leonard Masonry, St. Louis, MO
Masonry Supplier – Cold Springs Granite Co., Cold Springs, MN
Masonry Supplier – North Carolina Granite Co., Mount Airy, NC
Masonry Supplier – Earthworks, Perryville, MO
Masonry Supplier – Kirchner Block & Brick, Bridgeton, MO
Landscape Architect – Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, Charlottesville, VA
Masonry Supplier – Mid-America State & Stone, Chesterfield, MO
Masonry Supplier – Indiana Limestone Co., Bedford, IN
Introduced in July 2009 in the heart of downtown St. Louis, Citygarden is a 3-acre sculpture garden donated by the Gateway Foundation to the city of St. Louis. The only one of its kind in America, the garden is unbounded by perimeter fences or gates and is free and open to the public 24/7, 365 days a year. Framed by office towers, the two formerly vacant blocks now provide a vibrant and serene blend of lush plantings and internationally renowned sculpture with delights of water, stone, architecture and design. The innovative concept has been featured in the New York Times and gained national recognition.
The masonry contractor installed the majority of the Hardscape features, working various weather conditions over a six-month period. Installing approximately 90,000 sf of blue stone and granite pavers throughout the garden required continuous precision and attention to detail. Due to the construction timeline, it was necessary to plant the large trees prior to installing Hardscape areas, presenting a challenge for the masonry craftsmen to work carefully around the plantings without disturbing them.
Of specific note is the craftsmen’s work in the fountain areas, including the 34-foot diameter, subtly tilted granite disk with a water scrim that sheets gently from the base of the massive Eros sculpture and the playful spray plaza, a paved field of 102 vertical jets that project water up to 8 feet high.
Also large in scope was the polished green granite installed on 1.100 linear feet of the riverine, a serpentine-shaped “meander” 16 to 24-inch wall that borders the northern edge of the gardens, creating myriad small-scale spaces for sculpture and conversation.
A black granite walk that parallels the base of the arc wall and the centered bluestone walk that traces the alleyways that once serviced this site create the circulation in the middle portion of the garden. These high-traffic walks were carefully installed by the masonry craftsmen to blend into the garden’s natural setting.
Granite flooring was installed from the terrace into the Terrace View café to create a kind of garden pavilion, expanding the garden experience from the outdoor terrace to the indoors. Granite paver and limestone walls also were installed in the interior of the café.
When Bidding the project, the masonry contractor immediately identified an opportunity to improve the installation process, as the original plan called for pavers set in mortar, presenting both cost and maintenance problems. Working closely with the general contractor, the masonry contractor recommended a granular set instead. This solution involved using a granular base constructed of a concrete slab covered with a 1-1/2-inch layer of clean rock and strips along the edges anchored to the concrete to hold the stones in place. It provided substantial savings and will prevent future maintenance issues due to frequent Midwest freezes and thaws.
The masonry contractor’s attention to detail, from the bidding process through final installation, met the overall goals of this labor of love and for the city of St. Louis.