03 February 2007

Noguchi & Stone -- Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Competition Entry

designers: Isamu Noguchi and Edward Durrell Stone.
materials: plaster and wood.
date: 1947.
status: unrealized.

Architect Stone and sculptor Noguchi worked together on this entry to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Competition for the riverfront area located between downtown Saint Louis and the Mississippi River. The competition was ultimately won by Eero Saarinen with his proposal for the Gateway Arch.

It appears from the design that Noguchi was a primary influence on the site development and landscape forms while Stone was perhaps more responsible for the architectural and infrastructure elements (like the bridges, buildings, and monumental vertical pylon). Clearly, the design works as one cohesive design concept where each element works together with the entire composition, holistically blending sculpted land forms, berms, fountains, riverside inlet, water courses, and low-lying unobtrusive modernist, buildings. The landscape, sculptural, and architectural elements all feature a coherent biomorphic aesthetic. The tall, thin central pylon acts as the symbolic focal point for the composition near the Old Cathedral up away from the river's edge.

Archival image by Ezra Stoller.

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