Gateway Arch Museum and Visitor Center

Gateway Arch Museum and Visitor Center


As part of the winning team for The City + The Arch + The River 2015 international design competition, Cooper Robertson and James Carpenter Design Associates, with Trivers Associates, designed an expanded and renovated Gateway Arch Museum and Visitor Center. Located at the base of Eero Saarinen’s iconic Gateway Arch within the National Park Service’s Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the underground Museum has suffered from a lack of visibility and was in need of a more relevant and contemporary narrative.

The new Museum occupies a renovated underground space built concurrently with the Arch with a 47,000 square foot expansion to the west, and a new entrance facing the Old Courthouse, site of the landmark 1857 trial of the slave Dred Scott. The majority of the interior of the existing space was demolished and reconfigured into new galleries, public amenities, and museum staff offices. The original architectural elements of the existing public spaces were preserved, and their distinctive character highlighted with new lighting and other discrete interventions. The addition houses a new public lobby that also serves as a kind of visitor center for the entire Park, as well as a great hall with monumental and animated elements that introduce the visitor to major themes to be explored in the galleries.

The Museum design is fully integrated into the National Register-listed landscape and respects Dan Kiley’s original Park design. The new circular stainless steel and glass entrance refers to the Arch in its materiality and form. It is an arc laid on to the landscape and precisely inserted into the topography, allowing visitors to enter the building through the landscape rather than descending underground. As one enters, the luminous great hall is revealed with views deep into the underground Museum’s monumentally scaled exhibits, elevating and enlivening the visitor experience, and drawing one in.


  • National Park Service
  • CItyArchRiver Foundation
St. Louis, Missouri
Site Area
150,000 square feet
Completion Date
Construction Cost
$106 million
  • 2019 The American Architecture Award
  • 2019 DOCOMOMO Modernism in America, Civic Award of Excellence
  • 2019 IALD Award of Excellence
  • 2019 Lumen Award of Excellence
  • 2018 AIA St. Louis Honor Award
  • 2018 Interior Design Best of Year Award for Large Museum
  • Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Landscape Architecture

  • James Carpenter Design Associates Entry Architect

  • Trivers Associates Associate Architect

  • Haley Sharpe Design Exhibit Design

  • KJWW MEP Engineering

  • Alper Audi Structural Engineering

  • Eckersley O’Callaghan Fa├žade Engineering

  • Shen Milsom & Wilke Audiovisual

  • Tillotson Design Associates Lighting Design

  • Jaffe Holden Acoustics