The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis opened in September 2003.
After a nine-month process, the Architect Selection Committee of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis named Brad Cloepfil, principal architect of Allied Works Architecture of Portland, Oregon, as the architect for a new building to be located at the corner of Spring and Washington Avenues.
With Allied Works’ first project, the Seattle Brewing company, Cloepfil set the practice’s standard of pursuing challenging and conceptually rich projects. This first project received the Progressive Architecture Award as well as the American Institute of Architects Awards in Seattle and Portland. Since then, Cloepfil has garnered national recognition for designs such as the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, the Sitings Project at Maryhill Museum, the Winslow and Blue Lake Residences, the PDX Gallery, and the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art. The Wieden & Kennedy headquarters, an innovative design using an existing historic icehouse for a 400-person agency, received a Progressive Architecture Award in May 1999. The transformation has been heralded as a benchmark for adaptive reuse and workplace architecture.
Expressing his initial ideas for a new home for the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Cloepfil commented, “In making space for contemporary art, the architecture must first serve the artist; not by attempting to render a ‘background’ for the art, but by providing the artist with a specific spatial presence, an intentional vacancy that achieves meaning through the art itself.”