The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra has selected Snøhetta as the project lead and design architect for the expansion and modernization of the organization’s historic performance space, Powell Hall. The SLSO is the second-oldest orchestra in the United States and is marking its 142nd year during the 2021/2022 season. As SLSO gears up to celebrate the centennial of Powell Hall in 2025, the organization is embarking on an ambitious expansion that will bring a new lobby with universal accessibility, new education and learning center, and improved musician and back-stage spaces to the concert hall. Snøhetta was selected to design the project for its integrated transdisciplinary approach and extensive experience designing arts facilities and cultural spaces – including the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Shanghai Grand Opera House, and the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet.
Central to the 65,000-square-foot expansion is the addition of a new welcome plaza at the corner of Grand Boulevard and Samuel Shepard Drive that creates an open and welcoming gateway to Powell Hall. With multiple entries to the plaza, the site provides accessible routes for patrons coming from multiple directions, leading to the new universally accessible entry lobby. Both the welcome plaza and a multi-purpose drop-off area create spaces for patrons to gather before and after performances. Inspired by the music created and performed within the building, the site design works to create light and lyrical entry groves that frame the new addition. Additionally, an expansion created along the back of Powell Hall will bring new spaces for community events, educational programs, lectures, digital programming, and other collaborations while also serving as a hub for innovation across artistic disciplines. The expansion will also create new rehearsal spaces for SLSO ensembles, modernized and expanded backstage spaces, new media and recording suites, new dressing rooms, and new storage areas for musician and guest artist use.
Marie-Hélène Bernard, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra President, and CEO, said, “This is an exciting chapter in the SLSO’s history. The project will improve every aspect of the audience and artist experience and will better support our mission as performer and educator, enriching lives through the power of music and fostering a sense of belonging for everyone. We will preserve the history of Powell Hall while also creating a hub for community, innovation, and powerful music experiences.”
Construction is expected to begin in January 2023, with an anticipated completion date of January 2025. The project team includes Snøhetta as the project lead and design architect, Christner Architects as architect of record, Schuler Shook as theatre planning consultant, Kirkegaard as acoustics, noise, and vibration control consultant, and BSI Constructors as construction manager for the project.
About the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
Celebrated as a leading American orchestra, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second-oldest orchestra in the country, marking its 142nd year with the 2021/2022 season and its third with Music Director Stéphane Denève. The SLSO maintains its commitment to artistic excellence, educational impact, and community collaborations, honoring its mission of enriching lives through the power of music. The SLSO serves as a convener of individuals, creators, and ideas, and is committed to building community through compelling and inclusive musical experiences. As it continues its longstanding focus on equity, diversity, inclusion, and access, the SLSO embraces its strengths as a responsive, nimble organization, while investing in partnerships locally and elevating its presence globally. For more information, visit slso.org.