Public Media Commons | St. Louis, Missouri | 2015
Architects: DLANDstudio Architecture + Landscape Architecture pllc.
Associate Architects: Ben Gilmartin Architect and Powers Bowersox Associates
Client: The Striler Group, Inc.
General Contractor: Don C. Musick Construction
Photographers: Varies: DLANDstudio, Cobalt Office, Benjamin Gilmartin
The Public Media Commons, located on a former parking lot in the Grand Center District in St. Louis, creates an interactive open space where arts, education, and public media come together.
The design creates a first-of-its-kind interactive media environment and public plaza in the Grand Center Arts District of St. Louis.
Encompassing 13,000 sf between the studios of St. Louis Pubic Television (9 Network) and Radio (KWMU, within UMSL’s new Media Center), the space bridges these institutions (the owners) and fosters creative exchange with a new way to engage the public: a site-specific “broadcast channel” that is an unprecedented synthesis of public media and public space.
A perforated metal scrim was designed to clad the adjacent buildings. The scrim works two folds- first, to transform the aesthetic of the commons and unify the vernacular of the surrounding buildings, secondly to create areas for new media components. Where the perforations densify the scrim is more solid allowing for digital projection. In other instances the scrim maneuvers around newly added digital screens and meeting room at the Nine Networks building. These features allow for the networks to broadcast live content into the commons as well as develop specialized projections for special events within the plaza.
Plant species were selected in coordination with the Missouri Botanic Garden as well as the client. The location of the planting takes advantage of the grade change to create a layered effect while also providing a buffer to the alley. A tree grove and grassy planting at the base of the Sheldon Concert Hall help to unify the spaces on either side of the alley. Plant species were selected based on their seasonal qualities to complement the ever changing news and media cycles of the networks.
Unit pavers in varying shades of grey are arranged as an abstraction of sound waves throughout the plaza. The patterned paver area includes anchors to install a temporary clear tent structure owned by the client, expanding the life of the plaza in varied weather conditions. The paving throughout the plaza is light in color to increase the albedo of the site which becomes most apparent when compared to the existing condition of the parking lot.
The design of Public Media Commons creates an interactive open space where arts, education, and public media come together. The commons accommodates performance stages for small groups, multiple seating areas, a large projection screen, and a rich plant palette that harkens to Missouri's native prairie landscape. It is a powerful expression of the future relationship between public media and public space.