Trivers’ Restoration of Tower Grove Park Pavilions Wins 2023 Palladio Award

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The national awards program recognizes outstanding achievement in traditional design.

St. Louis-based architecture, planning, urban design and interiors firm Trivers was recently named a winner of the 2023 Palladio Awards for its restoration of the Turkish Pavilion and Old Playground Pavilion in Tower Grove Park in St. Louis.

Produced by Traditional Building since 2002, the Palladio Awards are the first and only national awards program for residential, commercial and institutional projects demonstrating excellence in traditional design. They recognize designers whose work enhances the beauty and humane qualities of the built environment through creative interpretation and adaptation of classical and traditional design principles. This year only 14 firms were honored.

Considered to be the best and most complete example of nineteenth century urban park design remaining in the United States, Tower Grove Park is one of just seven parks designated as a National Historic Landmark. It boasts the largest collection of Victorian pavilions in the world, all designed between 1870 and 1872. After almost 150 years of use, the Turkish Pavilion and Old Playground Pavilion began to show signs of structural and cosmetic deterioration.

“Located in the heart of St. Louis, Tower Grove Park serves as the anchor and economic stabilizer of several business districts and historic neighborhoods,” said Trivers Principal Amy Gilbertson, FAIA, LEED GA. “These pavilions are some of the most loved, iconic structures that make the park unique. We were honored to play a role in ensuring that they remain well-preserved for generations to come.”

Trivers and the design team, including structural designer KPFF and lighting designer Reed Burkett Lighting Design, partnered with general contractor Vanstar Construction Co. and owner’s representative Navigate Building Solutions to complete the $1 million project in 2021. It included repair of ironwork and wood embellishments, new foundations, and fresh roof coatings and paint for the ornate roofs and ornamental features that match the original colors. New, accessible paving was added as well as new lighting that allows the pavilions to be viewed and enjoyed after dusk.

“Trivers’ talented and experienced team demonstrated professionalism and passion throughout the course of this project,” said Bill Reininger, Tower Grove Park’s executive director. “Every stakeholder involved is proud of the restored pavilions, including the donors who made the work possible and the visitors who will continue to enjoy them for the next 150 years and beyond.”

Trivers’ work on the pavilions has also received the AIA Honor and Craftsmanship Award from the American Institute of Architects of St. Louis and a Most Enhanced Award from the Landmarks Association of St. Louis. Trivers’ relationship with Tower Grove Park began when it was selected to restore and preserve its equestrian stable that was built in 1868. Now Trivers is helping the park execute its Master Plan introduced to the community in 2018. With the goal of enhancing the grounds for the 21st century while preserving its historic landmark status, the plan includes the park’s first new buildings in more than 50 years.

“Honoring the history of a place or structure does not have to mean stifling new design opportunity,” Gilbertson said. “We need to remember the stories of our past and understand original design ideas while also creating new interventions that keep a place relevant and exciting and allow it to continue to serve the community.”

Trivers, an architecture, planning, urban design and interiors firm, was founded in 1975 on values that still characterize it today: creating architecture of lasting positive consequence. By establishing a reputation for thoughtful design that responds to context, Trivers’ early focus on historic renovation and adaptive reuse grew to include ground-up construction. Based in St. Louis, Trivers works with a range of clients across the country providing expertise in civic, education, hospitality, housing and workplace architecture. More information is available at trivers.com.

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