April 13, 2007
  St. Louis Residential Tower Design Unveiled
Glass high-rise redefines residential options in St. Louis

by Russell Boniface
Associate Editor

Summary: Chicago-based Metro.Arch recently unveiled its design for Skyhouse, a glass-and-steel, 22-story mixed-use tower in downtown St. Louis. The building will comprise 166 units on floors 5–22, with 240 indoor parking spaces residing on floors 2-4. Metro.Arch plans to make this $67 million building LEED® certified, a first for the area. Skyhouse is significant because it will be the largest, new-construction downtown residential building. Downtown St. Louis has seen little new residential, high-rise construction due to the popularity of converting its historic, elegant buildings to loft residences. Groundbreaking is expected in March 2008.

Skyhouse will be located at the end of St. Louis’ historic loft district on a downward, corner-site slope overlooking the Mississippi River. Metro.Arch was commissioned by Chicago-based Metropolitan Development Enterprises and St. Louis-based Riley Waldrop to design a bold, skyline design with the goal of creating new, modern residential space in St. Louis that combines with retail. Metropolitan received $12 million in TIF funds for the project.

A ribbon design
Metro.Arch’s idea was to maximize views by employing curtain and window walls into its design, ensuring all units have a balcony. The firm chose to feature a design element of a “ribbon” that flows through the entire design and culminates on the 19th-floor roof deck—its amenities floor, where there will be a pool, green roof, fitness center, party room, and media room, offering views of downtown St. Louis and the surrounding areas. The design for the parking spaces incorporates a glass base that doesn’t seek to hide the cars but rather incorporates their presence into the design. The garage will also employ motion detectors at night to dim lights. The building will have 13,000 square feet of retail space of its first floor.

The developer wanted something that St. Louis hasn’t seen before

“It’s a fairly risky venture in downtown St. Louis,” says Joe Villanti, AIA, Metro.Arch project architect. “It’s the first of its kind. Most people are used to the loft conversions, many of which don’t provide parking. Skyhouse will be one of the first, new construction residential towers. The developer wanted something that St. Louis hasn’t seen before. We are really excited.”

The design for Skyhouse aims to meet LEED standards. “We embraced a modern, high-performance design,” explains Villanti. “For example, cabinets will be forestry certified, there will be bamboo flooring, and there is a green roof. We are looking to getting the building hooked into an existing steam-system company here in St. Louis that will pay for steam equipment and installation. We are also looking into a system to collect rainwater.”

A great addition to the skyline
Despite a height restriction of 250 feet on the site due to the city’s zoning code, Villanti enthuses that “the sky was the limit, and we felt we reached it.”

The sky was the limit, and we felt we reached it

Skyhouse’s sales center will open May 12. Says Villanti, “We shouldn’t have a long wait before we get into production. We hope to break ground in March 2008, with first occupancy fall 2009.”

He adds: “There aren’t a lot of glass and steel high-rises in St. Louis, or a lot of new construction in recent years. The last modern construction there was the Gateway Arch. Following in that Modernist tradition, we think Skyhouse will fit right in and be a great addition to the St. Louis skyline.”

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