The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis is a non-collecting exhibition, education and event space in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. The Contemporary’s mission is not to preserve, but to provoke: it presents work from noted artists such as Maya Lin, Bruce Nauman and Cindy Sherman, as well as emerging contemporary artists from across the region, and has become the focal point of new cultural and educational activities within the heart of the city.
The two-story, 27,000 s.f. museum provides open, flexible space for exhibitions and programs while emphasizing transparency at ground level. Two intersecting ribbons of concrete and steel mesh weave and overlap to define the principal volumes. The lower walls bound the museum and create a series of large interconnecting galleries. The upper walls span above the galleries, providing spaces for administration and education. Ceiling planes are held at varying heights to create variations in scale, proportion and enclosure, providing a diversity of lighting conditions and curatorial opportunities. This building is a simultaneous act of enclosure and invitation, allowing the landscape to flow through the entire site, while tenuously capturing and containing rooms for art.