The landmark Gateway Arch in St. Louis is an impressive monument, and its museum and visitor center as well as the surrounding parkland have recently been updated to improve the visitor experience and the facility’s sustainability profile. The result is LEED Gold certification for the center and a prestigious achievement for Cooper Robertson and James Carpenter Design Architects and their project partner, Trivers Associates.
Going For Gold: Gateway Arch Museum and Visitor Center’s Sustainability Credentials
The Gateway Arch construction project shows that LEED Gold isn’t just about a completed building and how it functions, but also the construction process, the materials chosen, and the locations from which they are sourced. It follows through to waste and rubble disposal, energy consumed during the project, and water consumed during construction.
The unique nature of the project – a structure that’s largely under a grassy mound – allows for some of the green features and figures, but the roll is nonetheless impressive. The roof is 99 percent vegetated, for example, and helps to mitigate city “heat island” conditions while more than 80 percent of construction waste was disposed of on-site thanks to the need for fill.
An additional fortunate “accident”, the site’s existing location, was also responsible for one of its other sustainable features – proximity to public transport. Nevertheless, its location could not have been more convenient had it been selected by design and the outdoor landscaping caters for both individual or family recreation and public events.
Proactive initiatives and smart design account for many of the project’s other achievements. For example, materials were sourced no further than 500 miles from the site, interior materials were chosen for low emissions and better indoor air quality, and wood products suppliers’ credentials were carefully vetted.