From Tod Machover’s Facebook page:
Perhaps the most perfect public monument I have ever seen, far more impressive and indelible in person – because of the site, subtleties and significance – than in iconography. It was Eero Saarinen’s first independent commission; he had worked in tandem with his father before that, and he beat out his dad for this commission. The story goes that the family was seated at dinner awaiting news of who won the commission. News arrived saying the father – Eliel Saarinen – had won; dad broke out champagne and everyone drank a toast to his victory. Then another phone call arrived saying that there had been a mistake, and that the son – Eero Saarinen had won for the Arch design…without saying a word, the father broke out ANOTHER bottle of champagne and drank a toast to his son. A beautiful story.
Click on any image to view in large format.
St. Louis Gateway Arch in yesterday’s early morning sunlight. The complex stainless steel surface of the arch makes the sun reflect in constantly changing patterns.
St. Louis Gateway Arch at sunrise.
Old St. Louis Courthouse is right in front of the Gateway Arch, and is part of the Westward Expansion National Historic Monument.
The triangular base of the St. Louis Arch allows for complex massing contrasts, such as the differences in perceived thickness of each leg depending on viewing perspective.
Every single angle of the St. Louis Arch is a breathtaking surprise. Impossible to imagine just by looking at the front-on view. Perfect minimalism – the simplest possible form that reveals endless variation on closer observation.
Ever seen anything as cool as this?!? Not I!!!!!
St. Louis Gateway Arch at sunrise yesterday. Perhaps the most perfect public monument I have ever seen, far more impressive and indelible in person – because of the site, subtleties and significance – than in iconography.
St. Louis Arch catching yesterday’s morning sunlight. I had always thought it was made of concrete (from photos), but it is subtle stainless steel, giving it complex, always-varying texture.
Early morning sunlight burning and splashing on the St. Louis Gateway Arch, yesterday morning.
Stairs at the base of the St. Louis Arch descend to a museum on the Westward Expansion.
Endless surprise in the way light is trapped and complexified when it hits the Arch.
Truly, every angle of the St. Louis Arch is a surprise and a miracle. I did not expect the lofty, sliver-thin apex to tower so elegantly, nor did I expect to see the tiny observation windows at the tippy-top. I didn’t have time to go up, but gather that there are trams in each leg of the arch to bring you there. Amazing!
Old riverboat on the Mississippi, right in front of the St. Louis arch (which serves – after all – as the arch to the Westward Expansion. Made me think of my dad, who grew up a few hundred miles north of St. Louis in Davenport, Iowa, also on the Mississippi.
The varied stainless steel surface of the St. Louis arch allows it to reflect light in complex ways, especially beautiful during sunrise and when illuminated at night. At first, I couldn’t tell WHAT I was seeing as my taxi drove me to the Hyatt hotel – right next to the Arch – late Tuesday night
Both the reflecting surfaces and the complex-but-simple twists of the Gateway Arch form make it endlessly interesting, standing in one place, or moving around the site…as I did for about an hour early yesterday morning.