Four Vacant Structures, Remnants of a 19th Century City Hospital, Are Reimagined as Modern Living Spaces

2nd Place, Multifamily

The site of the Georgian was first home to the St. Louis City Hospital, built in 1845 and destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt only to be destroyed by a cyclone. The third and final reincarnation of the current complex was designed by Albert Groves and built in 1905. Although some portions have been lost throughout the years, much of the original fabric remains today. Other structures had been converted over the past decade, but four structures remained as a reminder to the fallen days of the historic site. At a site with a rich history and character, the completed design coverts these four vacant structures into 74 new apartments.

The renovation of the remaining four vacant buildings took each unique building and emphasized the remaining historic character to tell the building’s story while maintaining a continuity across the project. At its apex, the buildings in the complex were connected with a series of corridors and tunnels. Each building—The Service Building, The Clinic Building, The Garage Building and The Commissioner Building—presented its own unique challenges and characteristics. The approach was to honor the character of each building individually designed in the Georgian Revival theme expressed in brick with stone, wood and terra-cotta detailing.

EXTERIOR BEFORE: Google Earth; OTHER BEFORE PHOTOS: Trivers; ALL OTHER PHOTOS: Sam Fentress

THE SERVICE BUILDING, 1940

Once the hospital cafeteria, the generous windows flood every space with daylighting, which highlights the existing salvaged terrazzo, concrete beams and glazed tile block. The most unique space in the building resides in the single-story connector joining The Clinic Building with The Service Building. The connector possesses a large monitor that floods the space with daylighting and the basement below through the newly cut opening for access to the lower level, becoming a dynamic part of the building entry. The exterior south façade expresses the remnants of the ancillary building removed in the early 1970s. The design team at Trivers honored the history of the past by leaving the scars intact and painting the exterior to complement the old and new.

THE CLINIC BUILDING, 1921

The Clinic Building was a part of the main hospital and has a dense column grid that challenged the unit layout. Units were designed in a manner that works around the structure to maximize the views of the city beyond with little remaining interior fabric remaining to restore.

THE GARAGE BUILDING, 1921

Previously used as the repair shop for hospital ambulances, the design of these spaces is more industrial with exposed masonry walls and ductwork. To maintain the overall openness, this structure houses the two largest units in the complex that highlight the existing exposed structure and reconstructed large monitor above. The entire wood roof decking was rebuilt upon the existing steel trusses, which were retained; exposing these trusses gives the space its openness.

THE COMMISSIONER BUILDING, 1907

The Commissioner Building held the offices for hospital administrators. The grand historic entry with original ornament were some of the few remaining and restored decorative elements that now provide a wonderful experience for residents as they walk through the building. This historic fabric gives the building a rich experience that is carried throughout the design with unit layouts that integrate perfectly with the massing for the original office function and the fenestration of the historic façade.

Because of the variety of buildings, structural systems and vantage points, each unit has a unique layout and offers distinct experiences. Within the units, the contemporary kitchens and bathrooms remain consistent, creating unity throughout the project. The layouts create a modern apartment experience with a classic and timeless finish palette to ensure these buildings continue to endure.

“Nice job taking a group of dilapidated buildings and creating a nice residential development, as well as weaving the four buildings into a unified whole. Good consistency in detailing.”

Howard Hirsch, AIA, LEED AP, founder and president, Hirsch MPG LLC, Metamorphosis Awards Judge

Retrofit Team

OWNER: Tegethoff Development

METAMORPHOSIS AWARD WINNER and ARCHITECT: Trivers

  • Joel Fuoss, AIA
  • Amy Gilbertson
  • Amanda McAllister
  • Martin Padilla
  • John Wilhelm
  • Riley Davis

GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Raineri Construction

MEP DESIGN-ASSIST ENGINEER: G&W Engineering

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: KPFF Consulting Engineers

CIVIL ENGINEER: Civil Design Inc.

Materials

HISTORIC ALUMINUM REPLACEMENT WINDOWS: H500 Series from Quaker Windows & Doors

ALUMINUM STOREFRONT // Encore from Kawneer

SLIDING DOORS // Suspended System Sliding Door from The Sliding Door Co.

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