Situated on a triple-wide lot in the Botanical Heights neighborhood of St. Louis, this 5-bedroom home exemplifies modern living in the city. From the street, the house is an abstractly modern nod to its neighbors. The utilization of brick speaks to the pervasiveness of the material in the city, while its overall form is unique yet familiar – the shape references the 3rd story mansard roof next door and in others nearby. With a spacious interior and oversized side yard, this home has it all. In order to take full advantage of its site condition, the house is organized around a double-height vertical core overlooking the yard, as well as a walk-out lower-level family room to allow for indoor-outdoor living. The yard itself has an interesting feature – an overgrown mound formed from the excavated earth of the depressed patio area adjacent to the family room. Together, they form a yin-yang relationship that is at both playful and sustainable, speaking to just one of the many passive green features incorporated into the house. Inside, the open plan around the double height core allows for the light and airiness of a city loft while still being practical to family living. The main living area of kitchen-living-dining is large enough for everyone to spread out yet still be together, while the front entry and library offers a peaceful retreat from which to relax and watch the neighborhood stroll by. Bedrooms upstairs and down comfortably accommodate the growing family and guests. Overall, the house operates as a machine for living, with each of its parts being functionally distinct while working together as a cohesive whole.
Climb So iLL
Climb So Ill is an indoor rock climbing gym and urban destination, spearheaded by eclectic holds manufacturer So Ill. The architect was retained to design both the shell and core of the overall building renovation and the interiors of the climbing gym. The site is a former power plant for a now abandoned hospital complex near downtown St. Louis. When the project began, the building, which had been abandoned for over two decades, had been emptied of most of the former boiler equipment, leaving the accessory walkways, demising walls, and miscellaneous equipment occupying two large spaces. Despite the volume of the existing spaces, there was not sufficient in height to house both 55 foot high walls and a desired rooftop restaurant. The final design cut a large opening into the slab separating the lower furnace level, from the boiler room, allowing for 60’ of un-interrupted height and cutting a section through the building that revealed the former workings of the power plant. The primary climbing walls were placed in the center of the new multi-level space, with a vertical wall on one face and a bouldering wall on the other. Accessory walls for children and beginners were located on the perimeter. A new mezzanine was constructed above the main walls, shaped to cater to the ‘fall zones’ of the walls and allowing for competition viewing and creating an event space. The materials for the new stairs, rails, and other structures were selected to complement the existing palette of paints and patina, which were preserved wherever possible. The building is part of a National Historic District and the renovation work was reviewed by the National Park Service for adherence to rehabilitation standards. The adaptive re-use of this powerplant and the transition from industrial equipment to rock climbing walls, while maintaining much of the original aesthetics of the structure were critical in preserving this nearly obsolete historic structure.
Back in 2014, we posted an online survey asking for feedback on what kind of house to build on a series of lots in The Grove neighborhood. When we asked about housing features, the response was to design a larger house than we have previously done, with a good deal of customizable options including green features, luxury kitchens, master suites, and backyard leisure zones. DONE!. However, we added tall dark and designer, too. These designs play nice with their older turn-of-the-century friends, but bring modern to new heights in St. Louis
Olio and Elaia
CDO+UIC served as design-builder and developer for this new venture by our good friend, chef Ben Poremba. Olio, described as a “grown-up wine bar and eatery”, is located in a former 1930’s Standard Oil station that had been covered in plaster and stood abandoned for over a decade. Following a careful uncovering and analysis of the existing structure to determine the original form and brick pattern, we were able to lovingly complete a rehabilitation of this iconic structure. Olio, and it’s sister restaurant Elaia, are now and important anchor for our redevelopment of the Botanical Heights neighborhood.
This project began with our clients desire to construct a new home on two city-owned vacant lots in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood of St. Louis. While the neighborhood is undergoing a significant redevelopment surge, many parts are still undeveloped with many abandoned structures. This particular property sat between two abandoned turn of the century brick multi-family buildings and backs up to a two story light industrial building dating from the 1950s. The program for the home called for a three bedroom main house, a pool and garage and a studio rental apartment. To accomplish fitting these program elements onto the site, the design places most of the building to the street, creating a two story façade that responds to the heights and setbacks of the adjacent buildings. The cladding of the street elevation is primarily a cement fiber panel rain screen cladding, painted in two hues of red matching adjacent brick. A cedar clad rain screen portion anchors the façade and designates the main entry. At the center of this elevation, is a drive-through opening to the garage located at the rear of the site, which was required by this properties atypical lack of an alleyway. The rear portion of the site was designed to create a private courtyard, by building a one story wing to the main house, containing the living room and master suite, and a detached garage. The CMU wall and steel plate covered windows of the adjacent industrial building form the fourth wall of the courtyard. The courtyard contains a lap pull, and covered seating, connected to the living room by a glazed overhead door.
Located on Vandeventer Avenue in the Botanical Heights neighborhood of St. Louis City, this 12,500sf historic industrial building has been given a new life as the corporate headquarters of a local IT firm. The former metal fabrication facility of Lunar Tool Company was originally built in the 1930s and is in the Liggett and Myers National Historic District. An addition from the 1980s nearly doubled the original factory space. In transforming the building, the architects created an open, collaborative workplace while still maintaining opportunities for focus and privacy. Much of the building’s historic character is preserved, including the manager’s overlook and the 5-ton crane over the reception area which now helps to support the loft space. The restoration of barn doors in the lounge areas allows for an open connection to the outside, while a bevy of north-facing windows allow for natural light to flood the main work area. The building blends the vintage character of the machine shop with the modern aesthetic of a cutting-edge technology company and allows the employees to focus on the important tasks at hand—like playing ping pong or lifting weights in the gym.
Vandegrove is a voluntary effort by CDO that offers a potential framework for the redevelopment of an approximate two square mile area of St. Louis, located between the Central West End and Tower Grove Park. Vandegrove offers a structure for the continued development of this portion of the City that respects the integrity of our existing neighborhoods, while aggressively repositioning the many underutilized resources and fostering greater connectivity and mobility.
City Garden Montessori
City Garden Montessori Charter School is a grass roots public charter school serving children from pre-school through 8th grade. The school serves the children in the Shaw, Botanical Heights, and Forest Park Southeast neighborhoods and consistently rates as one of the top performing schools in the State of Missouri. Like many community initiated charter schools, City Garden began with kindergarteners and first graders only. As the children aged through the school and new students came into the kindergarten level, the school grows to its planned size. The funding formula is based on a per student allocation from the state, so in these early years, charter schools have to be smart about their expenses and facility choices. When the City Garden board and staff began working with UIC, they had been operating for three years in the basement of a generous church, but were facing an impending crunch of space as their enrollment expanded. At the same time, they were not quite to 50% of the eventual enrolment and with this the funding to make the next step in their facilities need. Working collaboratively with City Garden, the community, and our lending partners, UIC developed a financially viable facility solution that would allow for a new long term facility on an escalating lease plan that modeled the school’s growth, with later options for purchasing the building. This allowed the school to move into the facility they needed on the terms that fit their budget, and concentrate their efforts on educating children and positively impacting the community. UIC’s design and construction teams followed the development process, creating an exceptional design in this 1940’s warehouse building, on a short timeline. This once nearly abandoned and boarded up building, now features large naturally lit classrooms, a central atrium space, gymnasium and pending LEED certification. To find out more about City Garden, please visit www.citygardenschool.org.
Visualizing Density is a collaboration between CDO+UIC and Alex Ihnen of Next STL, with the help of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, where it was initially shown at their PXSTL pavilion in 2014. Density is an abstract concept to many people, but a critical component of making decisions about what a rapidly changing urban area should become. The exhibit begins with a focus on the past 60 years of population decline in the City of St. Louis across the cities many neighborhoods and draws correlations between other factors, such as household size and land use changes. This information is then used to ask questions about where the city stands in terms of density and what is feasible in the future, while looking to other cities and districts for comparison. The exhibit has since been shown at the St. Louis Planning and Urban Design offices and will be traveling to other venues around the City.
The Flounder is a style of house with a roof that slopes from one side of the building to the other with no offset. This style of house has historical importance in Saint Louis, with examples in many of the City’s older neighborhoods. Located in the Botanical Heights neighborhood in the second phase of our Botanical Grove development, UIC’s take on this St. Louis original is available in a 2 and 3 bedroom version with base prices ranging from the 190’s to the 230’s. These super stylish homes are green throughout, offer ten foot ceilings in the kitchen and living rooms and many other features. Like all of our homes, you can customize to your liking and make it your own, and these homes feature 10 year tax abatement.
227 North Lindbergh
UIC recently completed exterior and interior renovations of this 1980s single-user building on Lindbergh in Creve Coeur, Missouri. Starting with a modest building that appeared fit for a Miami Vice episode, UIC reshaped the building through the addition of a large light monitor and new windows throughout, with a large canopy clad in a custom cedar veneer. This one of a kind property is available for office, medical, or retail use. Contact UIC Principal Brent Crittenden for more details.
As part of the Avant Grove development in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood, this home was designed as an addition to a unique series of houses redefining a short block of Gibson Avenue. The facade reflects this synthesis of new and contextual design through both its massing and use of materials, with red brick defining the iconic pitched shape while balancing the use of corrugated metal here and elsewhere on the block. By introducing these new elements and forms in a sympathetic way, this house has become a landmark recognized for displaying contemporary design on the exterior and through the front windows. The house’s main feature is the open stair sitting prominently at the front of the house. As part of the utility and circulation core, it connects all four stories and establishes the overall organization of the house. The stair maximizes light flowing through the south facing façade by utilizing open treads and structure, a CNC’d bamboo guardrail, and side-by-side stairwell design with glass enclosure. The result creates a strong connection between the front dining room and living room above. At the rear of the house, the open plan kitchen and family room connects the first floor to an outdoor living area. A Master Suite completes the second floor, with 2 additional bedrooms on the third. The overall affect is one of strong vertical and lateral connections that are a model of open plan, modern living.
Brentwood Custom Home
The design for this custom home for a couple in Brentwood had to balance the clients’ desires for a spacious home with the relatively small scale of the neighborhood. Because of the site that slopes away from the street, we were able to keep the front elevation small (to fit in with the context), while tucking another level underneath it that opens into the rear yard.
CDO worked with a variety of parties focused on local food production on this new mixed-use development located on a vacant 3 acre site in the center of the city. The anchor of this development was a 27,000 sf grocery retailer with an emphasis on local produce. Attached to this retailer is a 30,000 sf food processing center that will process local produce and distribute it to local school district to meet the demand caused by a new mandate in Missouri. Above both facilities is over 50,000 sf of greenhouses that will serve both facilities. Located immediatly north of this structure is a 2-tower development with a centrally located parking garage, housing residential units and office space.
Our original display unit for the Botanical Grove development, this three bedroom home features a ground floor master and roof terrace, and is located next door to award-winning restaurants Olio+Elaia and La Patisserie Chouqette. Phase 1 of this development featured 3 model types that were variations on each other in order to produce a vibrant and varied streetscape.
Tower Grove Mews
The 10 new loft-style apartments consist of studios and 1 or 2 bedroom units. With exposed brickwork and ceilings, sealed concrete floors, and a number of features from the building’s former use left in place, these apartments are very unique and full of character.
UIC answered a call for an open competition for a temporary outdoor gallery space (TOGS), to be part of the annual Art City Austin event. UIC’s entry called for a lightweight translucent fabric covered ‘roof’ that is supported on a series of adjustable pipe columns that are integrated into a set of adjustable seats and display devices. UIC further proposed that this canopy and the annual event be used as the catalyst for the redevelopment of the streets that host the event into a new hybrid space that can easily be converted to host a variety of activities, while still accommodating traffic on a day-to-day basis.
Montessori Training Center
Situated at 3854 Washington Avenue in Grand Center, this new facility will both train future teachers and certify them in Montessori education. It will also have a school on-site in which experienced teachers and teachers in training will work with infants and Toddlers. Montessori education and instruction emphasizes independence as well as a respect for a child’s natural development. Part of Montessori training includes teaching young children to clean-up after themselves but also to take turns serving their fellow classmates. Low cabinets and sinks were installed at the center so that children aged 3-5 can wash plates and prepare meals. The Montessori Training Center is another welcome addition to the ever-developing Grand Center area, and UIC was excited to be a part of this redevelopment. We will continue to work with The Montessori Training Center as they complete their master plan in Grand Center.
UIC has completed design work on this 20 unit apartment building with ground floor retail on Manchester Avenue in the Grove neighborhood. After years of resurgent growth in this exciting residential and entertainment district, this building will represent the first new residential building on Manchester Avenue in the past 15 years. This three building will have a ground floor clad in brick, with large storefronts, while the upper floors are clad in zinc panels with recessed balconies. All twenty units will feature large balconies and covered parking. Construction began in early 2015.
AB-InBev Saint Louis Tour Center
UIC collaborated with Switch and Monkey-Do Productions on this concept for the redevelopment of the AB-InBev Tour Center in Saint Louis. UIC’s efforts focused on site design and creating a more dynamic building that could transcend the conventional tour center use. The brewery is located in Saint Louis’s eclectic Soulard neighborhood, full of twenty-something young professionals; precisely the audience AB-InBev is seeking for its Budweiser brand. With this in mind, the proposal starts with a revised site plan that breaks down the existing suburban style parking lot and transitions it to a ‘street’ and plaza capable of hosting a wide variety of events and market style functions The build would be re-skinned in a more contemporary envelope and a indoor/outdoor theater would be added near the front entry and a two story tasting room/event space would be added to the rear of the building with a balcony overlooking the nearby Clydesdale stables.
The Over Under Bar
The Over/Under Bar and Grill, designed and built by UIC, is located in the prominent Lammert Building in Downtown St. Louis. The 5000 s.f. high-end sports bar caters to a variety of crowds. Flexibility of use and a desire for comfort and intimacy drove the scale of the spaces. The bar can be divided by movable partitions and doors into several rooms for private dining and conferences or opened up for busy evenings and pre-game festivities. The 1800 s.f. landscaped patio, also designed and built by UIC, has high visibility from Washington Ave and from within the bar. UIC’s fabrication team built the custom bamboo tables featured throughout the Over/Under.
The Post Sports Bar
The Post Sports Bar in Downtown Maplewood, Missouri is built to specifically cater to fantasy sports. UIC designed and fabricated a “draft board”, draft tables, bar, and dry bar for the bar and restaurant, which is reportedly the first of its kind. Dynamic forms in the fabricated pieces mimic movement in sports. Angled planes of bamboo plywood in the bar and draft board tilt to respond to functional changes and to create opportunities for multi-colored LED lighting.
Switch Office Renovation
Switch is a dynamic and multi-faceted St. Louis based advertising agency that works as both an ideas and branding firm, as well as in event production and fabrication. When Switch approached UIC, they had half of their team in a downtown loft building and half in a defunct strip mall, two miles away, with a desire to bring everyone under one roof by expanding their space in the former shopping center, creating one 90,000 sf office and production hub for the firm. Our challenge was to find a way to expand what Switch had already begun, while also make a new creative office space in a banal 30,000 sf former office supply store, that would inspire a group accustomed to their cozy loft offices. To do this, we embraced the bigness of the space, creating a dynamic open work area with carefully placed break out spaces, a game room, a bar, and all of it centered around a winding two-story ramp and amphitheater. This ramp and amphitheater can accommodate a customized tour of Switch’s work for perspective clients, or a whole company meeting, creating a hub that fits their unique culture and style. Our first clue that the team would like the space was the razor scooter races that broke out on the ramp before we could finish construction.
UIC completed schematic design work for an adaptive re-use of this historic church building into a multi-venue performing arts and concert center. The design calls for the restoration of the now abandoned structure to its original configuration, with subtle additions. The primary sanctuary space will be used as a concert hall capable of holding 1200 patrons and hosting national musical acts. The three story multi-function building will house a ground floor restaurant and a 400 seat intimate venue in the former two story meeting hall above.