On the Riverfront: St. Louis and The Gateway Arch

Symposium, January 31, 2009


9:00-9:30 a.m.
Welcome: Mark S. Wrighton, chancellor, Washington University in St. Louis
Opening Remarks: Reflections from Finland
Matti Häkkänen, ambassador, Helsinki, Finland
Juhani Pallasmaa, architect, professor, Helsinki, Finland
* The Saarinen Legacy

9:30-11 a.m.
Session One: The River and St. Louis
Robert Moore, historian, National Park Service, St. Louis
Mary Brunstrom, doctoral student, Washington University in St. Louis
* On the Riverfront: St. Louis before the Arch
Eric Mumford, associate professor, Washington University in St. Louis
* St. Louis and Modern American Architecture at Mid-Century
Reflections: Gyo Obata, architect, St. Louis

11-11:15 a.m.
Coffee Break

11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
Session Two: The JNEM Competition and the Design of the Gateway Arch
Hélène Lipstadt, DOCOMOMO US, Boston
* What’s Jefferson Got to Do With It: Democracy, Competitions and the Arch
Robert Burley, architect, Waitsfield, VT
* Designing the Arch with Eero Saarinen
Jane Amidon, associate professor of landscape architecture, Ohio State University
* Lessons Learned in St. Louis: Grounds for Kiley’s Early Work
Reflections: Susan Saarinen, landscape architect, Golden, CO

12:45-1:30 p.m.

1:30-3 p.m.
Session 3: The Era of the Arch
Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, associate professor, Yale University
* Saarinen and the Problem of Form
Stephen Leet, associate professor of architecture, Washington University in St. Louis
* Saarinen and Neutra
Robert McCarter, professor, Washington University in St. Louis
* Louis Kahn and Eero Saarinen: Divergent Definitions of Mid-Century American Architecture
Sarah Goldhagen, historian and critic, The New Republic
* The New Monumentality
Reflections: Harold Roth, architect, New Haven, CT

3-3:15 p.m.
Coffee Break

3:15-4:45 p.m.
Session 4: The Riverfront and the Arch
Robert Duffy, critic, St. Louis Beacon
* The Arch and the City: Recent Events
Patricia Heyda, visiting assistant professor, Washington University in St. Louis
* The Riverfront Charrette
Charles Birnbaum, director, The Cultural Landscape Foundation
* The Archgrounds as Cultural Landscape
Reflections: Cynthia Weese, former dean of Architecture, Washington University in St. Louis

4:45-5 p.m.
William Gass, the David May Distinguished University Professor Emeritus
in the Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis
* Monumentality / Mentality


Jane Amidon
Amidon is chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Ohio State University and author of the first comprehensive monograph on Dan Kiley, the renowned landscape architect who worked with Saarinen on design and development of the Gateway Arch and surrounding grounds. Amidon also publishes the Ohio State series “Source Books in Landscape Architecture,” which to date has featured the work of Grant Jones, Peter Walker, Ken Smith and Michael Van Valkenburgh. She recently received the university’s Charles E. MacQuigg Award for outstanding teaching as well as the India Boyer Faculty Prize for outstanding teaching, research and practice.

Charles Birnbaum
Birnbaum founded The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) in 1998 and currently serves as the foundation’s president. TCLF is the only not-for-profit foundation in America dedicated to increasing the public’s awareness of the importance and irreplaceable legacy of cultural landscapes. He previously spent 15 years as coordinator of the National Park Service Historic Landscape Initiative, and a decade in private practice with a focus on landscape preservation. Recent publications include Design with Culture: Claiming America’s Landscape Heritage, Preserving Modern Landscape Architecture I and II and Pioneers of American Landscape Design. In 1995 the American Society of Landscape Architects awarded the President’s Award of Excellence to the Historic Landscape Initiative and in 1996 inducted Birnbaum as a Fellow of the Society. An instructor for the National Preservation Institute, he served as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1998 and in 2004 received the Rome Prize in Historic Preservation. In 2007 he was awarded the LaGasse Medal in the Landscape Architect Category.

Mary Reid Brunstrom
Brunstrom is a doctoral candidate in Washington University’s Department of Art History & Archaeology in Arts & Sciences, where her dissertation will focus on early modernist architecture in St. Louis. She holds two master’s degrees from Washington University — the first in liberal arts, for which she wrote a thesis on Richard Serra’s sculpture Twain, located on the Gateway Mall downtown; the second in art history, for which she wrote a thesis on St. Louis architects and their clients in the 1930s. She previously served as founder and director of the Austral Gallery in St. Louis, through which she presented exhibitions of Australian contemporary art, including Aboriginal art, throughout North America.

Robert Burley
Burley is founding principal of The Burley Partnership in Waitsfield, VT, an award-winning architecture, planning and historic preservation firm. He previously worked in the firm of Eero Saarinen and Associates, where he was placed in charge of design teams for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial as well as for the U.S. Embassy in London and the World Health Center Competition in Zurich. Design principles and methodologies developed in the Saarinen office have strongly influenced The Burley Partnership, where major projects have included the Vermont Capitol Complex Master Plan and an expansion of the Vermont State House. A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Burley is a past chair of the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; Vice-chair of the National Park System Board; and present Chair of the Architectural Panel for the Restoration of Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest.

Robert W. Duffy
Duffy is associate editor of the St. Louis Beacon, a new online regional news publication. He joined the staff of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1973 and worked there, with one brief interruption, for 32 years. He served as reporter, critic, columnist, editorial writer and editor during his tenure at the paper, and was a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes for photography in 1978 and ’79. In addition to the Beacon and the Post-Dispatch, articles by him have appeared in U.S. News and World Report, Smithsonian and Modernism, and he has contributed essays or chapters to several books on architectural and urban-design subjects. He is a member of the faculties of the College of Arts & Sciences and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis as well as chairman of the College of Arts & Sciences Century Club, secretary of the board of the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute, and a member of the advisory board of the New City School.

William Gass
Gass is the David May Distinguished University Professor Emeritus in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, where he taught for 30 years, and one of the most critically acclaimed authors of fiction and critical prose writing today. His many honors include two National Book Critics Circle awards, for Finding a Form (1996) and for Habitations of the Word (1984); the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997; and the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for The Tunnel (1995), which he spent 30 years writing and which many consider to be among the finest American novels of recent times. Other books include the novels Omensetter’s Luck (1966) and Willie Master’s Lonesome Wife (1968); the story collections In the Heart of the Heart of the Country and Other Stories (1968) and Cartesian Sonata (1998); and the essay collections Fiction and the Figures of Life (1971), On Being Blue (1976), The World Within the Word (1978) and A Temple of Texts (2006).

Sarah Williams Goldhagen
An historian and theorist of modern architecture, Goldhagen serves as architecture critic for The New Republic. Her work on post-World War II American Modernism distinguishes her among younger architectural historians today. Before deciding to devote herself full-time to writing, she was, for 10 years, a professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. She writes books, lectures nationally and internationally, and consults with cultural and other institutions on the architect selection process. Her articles also have appeared in The New York Times, The American Prospect and Art In America, and she has contributed scholarly essays to many publications, including Assemblage, the Harvard Design Magazine and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. In addition, Goldhagen is a co-founder and co-editor of a new scholarly journal, Positions: On Modern Architecture and Urbanism/ Histories and Theories.

Matti Häkkänen
Häkkänen is a former Ambassador of Finland as well as a second cousin to Eero Saarinen. He joined the Finnish Foreign Ministry in 1960, after graduating from the University of Helsinki, and received his first foreign posting in 1962, to the Embassy of Finland in Paris. From 1964-66 he served as Vice Consul to the Consulate General of Finland in New York and over the next decade would serve as both Secretary of Bureau and Chief of Bureau of the Foreign Ministry, with additional appointments to the Embassies of Finland in Moscow (1969-71) and Peking (1973-76). From 1976-80 he served as Ambassador of Finland in Bucharest, and from 1980-83 served as Under Secretary of State in the Foreign Ministry. Subsequent appointments would include ambassadorships in The Hague (1983-87), Buenos Aires (1987-88), Paris (1988-93), Rome (1993-97) and Lisbon (1997-2001.) He retired in 2001.

Patricia Heyda
Heyda is a visiting assistant professor of architecture in the Sam Fox School and principal of the St. Louis design practice pH1. Last fall she helped organize the St. Louis Downtown/Riverfront Student Design Charrette, which explored ideas for improving connections between downtown and the Gateway Arch grounds. A LEED accredited professional, she previously taught at Northeastern University and at Harvard University, where she was a visiting critic in 2005-2006. Professional experience includes tenures with the Pritzker-Prize winning firm Architectures Jean Nouvel in Paris and with Atelier 8000 in Prague. In the United States she led the AIA Award-winning Anacostia Waterfont Framework Plan in Washington, D.C., for Chan Krieger and Associates, as well as the ASLA award-winning Missouri River Greenway Plan in St. Louis, for the HOK Urban Design group. Portions of her Roman Operating System_2000, conducted with Rem Koolhaas at Harvard, were included in the Mutations show at the Arc en Reve Centre d’Architecture in Bordeaux, France, and published in both the exhibition catalog and in Content (2004).

Stephen Leet
Leet is associate professor of architecture at Washington University in St. Louis and author of Richard Neutra’s Miller House (2004) as well as Franco Albini: Architecture and Design 1934 – 1977 (1990) and Le Forme Della Ragione: Marco Albini, Franca Helg, Antonio Piva, architetture e design 1980-1995 (1995). He has researched and written extensively on modern American and Italian architecture and industrial design, and curated and designed exhibits on Franco Albini, Charles Eames, Jose Antonio Coderch, Erich Mendelsohn and others. A registered architect, Leet has worked in several New York City firms, including I.M. Pei & Partners, as well as in private practice with Bower Leet Architects.

Hélène Lipstadt
Lipstadt is a cultural historian and author of several articles and books devoted to the history of the institutions, practices and roles that define and distinguish architecture as a field of cultural production. Her edited collection, The Experimental Tradition: Essays on Competitions in Architecture, and article “Architectural Publications, Competitions and Exhibitions” in Architecture and Its Image: Four Centuries of Architectural Representation (both 1989) are often described as foundational texts in the critical historiography of competitions. She has written several studies on Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch, the 1947-48 JNEM Competition and the Arch’s iconic presence in the American landscape. Her recent study, “Can ‘Art professions’ be Bourdieuian Fields of Cultural Production?: The Case of the Architecture Competition” (Cultural Studies, May 2003), is a pioneering effort in the theorization of competitions. A founding regional editor of The Journal of Architecture (United Kingdom), she is also a founding director of DOCOMOMO US and currently serves as secretary of its board. She has taught at the Columbia University, the Université of Montreal and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Peter MacKeith
MacKeith is associate dean and associate professor of architecture in the Sam Fox School and an authority on contemporary Finnish and Nordic architecture. He has worked in practices in both the United States and Finland and from 1994-99 directed the international Masters Program in architecture at the Helsinki University of Technology. He previously taught in design and architectural theory at Yale University, the University of Virginia and the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. A past editor of Perspecta, The Yale Architectural Journal (1988), MacKeith is the author and/or editor of The Finland Pavilions: Finland at the Universal Expositions 1900-1992 (1992); Encounters: Architectural Essays, a selection of essays by Juhani Pallasmaa (2005); The Dissolving Corporation: Contemporary Architecture and Corporate Identity in Finland (2005); and Archipelago, Essays on Architecture (2006). His analytical drawings of Aalto’s buildings were included in the 1998 Aalto retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Honors and awards include a Fulbright Fellowship, research grants from The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts and a 2008 Creative Achievement in Design Education Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.

Robert McCarter
Robert McCarter joined the Sam Fox School’s Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design in 2008 as the Ruth & Norman Moore Professor of Architecture. A practicing architect, he is the author of numerous books, including Louis I. Kahn (2005); On and By Frank Lloyd Wright: A Primer of Architectural Principles (2005); Frank Lloyd Wright: Critical Lives (2006) and William Morgan: Selected and Current Works (2002). McCarter received his architectural license in 1982 and has been president of D-Mc2 Architecture, P.A., in Tioga Florida since 1991. He previously taught at the University of Florida, where he directed the School of Architecture from 1991-2001; and worked as an assistant dean (with Bernard Tschumi) and assistant chair (with Kenneth Frampton) at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture in New York. He is a three-time Visiting Scholar for the American Academy in Rome. Other honors include a 2002 Rotch Foundation Traveling Studio Award; a 1989 Graham Foundation grant, for his work on Frank Lloyd Wright; and the 1983 SOM Design Fellowship.

Robert Moore
Moore has served as historian for the National Park Service at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial since 1991, in which capacity he has consulted and interviewed many of the principal designers, engineers and craftspersons who created the gateway Arch and its landscape. Born and raised in Oriskany, NY, Moore holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University as well as a Master’s and doctorate in history from Washington University in St. Louis, where he teaches as an adjunct professor. He is the author of eight books, including The Gateway Arch: An Architectural Dream (2005), and has written widely on Lewis and Clark, westward expansion, Dred Scott and other topics. He previously worked for the National Park Service at historical sites ranging from Saratoga, Yorktown, Morristown and Gettysburg to Theodore Roosevelt’s home at Sagamore Hill.

Eric Mumford
Mumford is associate professor of architecture, history and art history at Washington University in St. Louis. An architectural and urban design historian as well as a licensed architect, he is author of The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960 (2000), the first book-length history of the International Congress of Modern Architecture. He is also the editor and co-author of Modern Architecture in St. Louis: Washington University and postwar American architecture, 1948-1973 (2004), as well as numerous scholarly articles. His current book, now in production with Yale University Press, is Defining Urban Design: CIAM Architects and the formation of a discipline, 1937-69.

Gyo Obata
Obata came to St. Louis is 1942 to study architecture at Washington University and later studied with master architect Eliel Saarinen at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. In 1955 Obata joined George Hellmuth and George Kassabaum to form HOK, which now ranks as the world’s largest architectural firm, with more than 1,900 employees in 24 offices on four continents. His design work includes airports, museums, hospitals, universities, courthouses, office buildings, laboratories and churches throughout the world. Obata’s long affiliation with the St. Louis riverfront and civic identity includes his submission to the 1947-48 JNEM competition, as well as projects such as the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse, Lambert St. Louis International Airport, the Missouri History Museum Expansion in Forest Park, Living World at the St. Louis Zoo, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville campus and the St. Louis Galleria shopping center.

Juhani Pallasmaa
Pallasmaa is principal of the firm Arkkitehtitoimisto Juhani Pallasmaa KY in Helsinki, Finland, as well as a former professor of architecture at the Helsinki University of Technology and a former director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture. From 2000-04 he served as the Ruth & Normal Moore Visiting Professor of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis. An honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, he received that distinction in 1980 at the AIA convention in St. Louis, under the Gateway Arch. Pallasmaa’s exhibitions of Finnish architecture, planning and visual arts have been displayed in more than 30 countries and he has written widely on cultural philosophy, environmental psychology and art and architecture theory. His books include The Eyes of the Skin – Architecture and the Senses, widely considered a modern classic and required reading in many architecture schools around the world.

Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen
Pelkonen is assistant professor at the Yale School of Architecture and chief researcher and co-editor for the exhibition catalog to Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future (2006), a work that has been internationally recognized for its critical excellence and compelling graphic design. Other publications include Achtung Architektur! Image and Phantasm in Contemporary Austrian Architecture (1996); Architecture Art : New Visions, New Strategies (2007) and Alvar Aalto: The Geopolitics of Architecture (2008). Prior to coming to Yale Pelkonen worked in a number of European firms, including Reima and Raili Pietilä, Architects in Helsinki and Volker Giencke Architects in Graz, Austria. She is also a design associate with Turner Brooks Architects, where she has collaborated on such projects as the Gilder Boathouse for Yale and the Pelkonen/Brooks residence.

Harold Roth
A 1956 alumnus of Washington University in St. Louis, Roth was a key employee in the office of Eero Saarinen and Associates during the period in which the Gateway Arch was designed, developed and constructed. Currently a faculty member at Yale University, he is a partner in the firm of Roth and Moore Architects in New Haven, CT, and a past chancellor of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. A professional member of the Building Stone Institute, he serves on the Tucker Design Awards and Editorial committees. In 1995 he received Washington University’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

Susan Saarinen
Saarinen is the granddaughter of Eliel and Loja Saarinen and the daughter of Eero and Lily Saarinen. Born in the Midwest, she has lived in the Boston area, Rhode Island, Vermont and Golden, CO, where she is currently principal of Saarinen Landscape Architecture. A member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Saarinen received a BFA degree from the Massachusetts College of Art in 1973; a Certificate of Landscape Design from Radcliffe College in 1986; and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado in 1993. From 1985-89 she served on the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissioners, and from 1996-98 was a member of the City of Golden Planning Commission. Other previous affiliations include the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Colorado Native Plant Society and the National Wildflower Society.

Cynthia Weese
Weese is a former professor and dean of architecture at Washington University in St. Louis as well as a distinguished practicing architect. In 1977, she co-founded the Chicago firm of Weese Langley Weese Architects Ltd. and over the years has received several AIA design awards, as well as two AIA Distinguished Service Awards and the Tau Sigma Delta Gold Medal in Architecture. As dean from 1993-2005, she initiated new programs that enhanced international study, introduced computer technology into the curriculum and created new design courses. A founding member of Chicago Women in Architecture and the Chicago Architecture Club, she was named a Fellow of the AIA in 1991.