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TRIVERS ASSOCIATES

By Linda F. Jarrett

After Andy Trivers, AIA graduated from the Washington University School of Architecture and Urban Design, he knew he would be working with cities and playing a part in their revitalization.

Downtown St. Louis had always intrigued him. The history of a vibrant city echoed in the gothic buildings forming pedestrian canyons.

“I was struck by the compactness of the downtown area,” he says. “And I was interested in being part of it. I came here looking for Gaslight Square and it had disappeared!”

In 1982, he started Trivers Associates, with the goal of enriching and forwarding St. Louis not by tearing down, but by renovating with an eye to sustainable culture.

One of his first projects was the renovation of the George Washington Hotel at the corner of Kingshighway and Washington Ave. in the Holy Corners Historic District, significant in part because Teddy Roosevelt had slept there during the 1904 World’s Fair.

Trivers knew that he wanted to do architecture that preserves communities, or as he calls it, “adaptive reuse.”

“Preservation is inherently green in the sense that it’s very sustainable,” he says. “If you’re constantly tearing down buildings and coming up with new resources to build new, it’s not sustainable from an environmental point-of-view. Finding new uses for older buildings is something that we’ve been doing for over 25 years.”

Trivers divided his firm into “studios,” with each one handling a particular architectural expertise: Cultural, Civic, Education, Health and Wellness, Hospitality, and Housing.

THE CIVIC STUDIO

The Civic Studio handled the Old Post Office renovations. Built in 1872 for $5.6 million after the Civil War, this building is listed as the sixth most historic building in the General Services Administration inventory.

The St. Louis post office, along with others in Cincinnati, Ohio, Boston, Mass., New York, N.Y., Philadelphia, Pa., were built as part of the post Civil War Revitalization and Reunification Act passed by Congress to restore confidence in that era. Only the St. Louis building remains.

“That’s why this building is so significant to downtown and that’s the role we like to play in terms of being community builders,” Trivers says.

“This project was the linchpin for the redevelopment of the Old Post Office District which was identified as part of the Downtown Master Plan of 2000,” Trivers says.

This represented the heart of downtown with approximately 242,000 square feet.

Trivers joined with the Desco Group and the DFC Group, to renovate the Old Post Office into a multi-use project. It now houses the Missouri Court of Appeals, Webster University, the St. Louis Public Library, the Attorney General and Missouri Secretary of State.

The historic city hall in University City was another Trivers civic project. Completed in 1904 in time for the World’s Fair, the building, designed in the Beaux Arts tradition, was renovated to LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, and is the first LEED® project for Trivers. (See sidebar on page 73.)

THE CULTURAL STUDIO

Under the Cultural Studio, Trivers did the renovation on the Center of Creative Arts (COCA). Designed in 1946 as a synagogue by German architect Eric Mendelsohn, the Center is one of the few contemporary buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We did the first renovation in 1985,” Trivers says. “Then we came back and did a more extensive renovation to the original building.

Those 30,700-square-foot renovations included space for a dance studio and rehearsal studio, performance theater, art gallery and classrooms.

Trivers was also selected to design a master plan for the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton, Ill. A project of the Madison County Arts Council, the Center, a former furniture store housed in an historic building, will feature art galleries and class room space, giving Jacoby more to offer for both future performers and audiences.

Central Reform Congregation picked Trivers to design the first synagogue built in St. Louis in over 50 years. Besides being a place to worship, the 22,000-square-foot synagogue, Sukkat Shalom, provides areas for meetings and educational programs.

Granite City, Ill. is undergoing a downtown renaissance, and Trivers will help them achieve an “artists’ community” effect by converting a 1920s YMCA into a cultural arts center with a 300-seat performance theater.

“We’re also doing a ‘new old-time’ theater a block from their city hall,” David Miller, director of business development, says. “So, in Illinois, we’re continuing what we started here in Missouri and carried all over the country by being there to help some of the communities that are going through urban regeneration.”

THE EDUCATION STUDIO

Trivers is also making their mark at Washington University with renovations to Wilson Hall and Busch Hall. In Wilson Hall, a three-story masonry classroom building built in 1924; Trivers reconfigured a 33,000-square-foot renovation of the Biology and Psychology Departments that includes faculty offices, seminar rooms and lecture halls.

In 2009, Trivers plans to complete a 42,300-square-foot renovation on Busch Hall. Built in 1901, Busch Hall was the first building constructed on the Danforth campus. Trivers’ historic renovation expertise will allow Busch Hall to remain as a historic landmark while transforming it into a state-of-the-art educational facility.

Within the Old Post Office, Trivers designed a plan for the downtown campus for Webster University. The plan, a four phase study, addressed potential use for occupancy, compatible use and conceptual design, a comprehensive physical and operations review, and a business plan for future growth.

Students at Southern Illinois University Carbondale received new housing with the Wall & Grand Apartments, a three-building, 400 bed, 100-apartment student residence with each apartment fully furnished with living room, bathrooms and kitchen.

“We actually collaborated with the students,” says Paul Berry, AIA senior project manager and principal-in-charge of the Housing Studio. We had a lot of workshops, explained what we do and listened to what they wanted.”

HEALTH & WELLNESS STUDIO

On 50 acres in O’Fallon, Mo., Trivers is master planning a retirement center on the property of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood.

“The Sisters have owned this for 100 years, and part of the plan is converting the convent and other facilities, 200,000 square feet, to independent living, assisted care and a skilled care facility,” Miller says. “There will also be retirement cottages, but it will be integrated into an area with town homes, single-family detached homes, retail and parks. You can be near the people you love, which is a large part of health and wellness.”

The firm also designed an advanced care wing to the Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine in Alton, Ill. The 4,000-square-foot facility includes 80 operatories and 24 dental stations.

THE HOUSING STUDIO

In designing Six North Apartments for McCormack Baron Salazar on Sarah St., Trivers Associates designed the first large rental complex in the country to incorporate universal design, a method based on designing living quarters for people with disabilities, but that can also be used for those without disabilities.

“It’s easy to make a unit or apartment accessible or adaptable,” Trivers says. “The trick is how do you make it meet those requirements without someone feeling like they’re in an institutional setting?”

Universal design apartments utilize features such as counters that are piston driven and can be moved up or down, cabinetry and dishwashers at a height where one can access them, wide doorways to accommodate wheelchairs and lower light switches.

The Crescent, a $73 million, nine-story development located across from the Ritz-Carlton is slated for opening in September. The development also features 25,000 square feet of street level retail space consisting of restaurants, galleries and boutiques.

“When we first started, we were invited to do a condominium project in Clayton consisting of 2,000-square-foot units,” Berry says. “We said we didn’t know how to do that and we were just getting into the market. But we got on top of the wave and rode it, and Crescent is our latest project of this type.”

Downtown loft living has become the standard bearer for housing in St. Louis, and Trivers is right in the middle of this growth with the Printers Lofts, featuring 38 condominiums the former Comfort Printing Building, plus 44 condos located in the former Mary Muffet Building.

For Roberts Lofts on the Plaza, Trivers was given the task of renovating the former Board of Education Building, a seven-story Neo-Romanesque building built in 1893 at the corner of Ninth and Locust streets. This 113,600-square-foot renovation transformed the vacant building into 50 apartments with retail on the first floor.

“The loft movement is interesting to think about because they’re typically raw spaces, a lot of concrete, and exposed pipes,” Trivers says. “”But where you live is really comprised of the City. The City provides the richness, so you really don’t have to put all that ‘stuff’ in your place now. The sound and lights of the City is your décor, so your actual living space is rather spartan.”

THE HOSPITALITY STUDIO

One of Trivers’ most stellar hospitality renovations was the Westin Hotel, which was part of the Cupples Warehouse complex, destined for demolition in the 70s.

“This shows what can be done with historic buildings,” Trivers says. “(Mayor Vince) Schoemel stepped in and saved it, so we took four of the buildings and turned them into one of the nicest hotels in town.”

Totaling 384,000 square feet, the four building complex connected by bridges features 225 rooms, and includes an executive lounge, health club, ballroom and restaurant.

Trivers also renovated one of St. Louis’ most historic establishments, Norwood Hills Country Club. When the board began considering the future and direction of the Club, they surveyed members for their opinions on how best this could be done, and researched the potential for modernization. The 62,218-square-foot project updated the venerable club and added needed square footage while keeping its character and attracting a new generation of members.

Trivers will combine renovation and new construction with The Roberts Tower and Mayfair Hotel due for completion in 2009. The first and second floors of the historic Mayfair Hotel will be renovated, with new construction of a 24-story tower connected to the hotel.

PRESERVING HISTORY

Trivers Associates wants to preserve the character and history of St. Louis. It is far too easy to tear down and start anew. History makes a city vibrant.

The company has taken its mission far afield to such cities as New Bern, N.C. where they were selected by the GSA Design Excellence Program to restore an historic 1933 Georgian Revival Post Office and Courthouse. The GSA also called on Trivers for a complete renovation of the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse in San Antonio, Texas. Built in 1937, this building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and located on historic Alamo Square.

Part of what makes St. Louis unique and one of the ‘great old cities,’ is its wealth of historic buildings,” Trivers says. “To lose that would be unfortunate.”

AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY HOPE LODGE


Under the direction of their Health & Wellness Studio, Trivers Associates has been involved with designing American Cancer Society Hope Lodges, places for cancer patients to stay while recovering from surgery or undergoing cancer therapy.

“This started in 1995 when the American Cancer Society decided that part of their mission would be to build these Hope lodges next to major cancer centers,” Andrew Trivers says.

Trivers joined with the ACS to build Hope Lodges around the country. In St. Louis, they designed a 40,000-square-foot office building, a 45-unit facility, which would be compatible with historic architecture.

Getting the right care means that patients sometimes need to travel miles away from their home. Finding a place to stay is one thing. Finding a place and having other people to bond with is another.

The Lodges provide a nurturing environment for patients where they can get support from others who are undergoing the same experience. While patients have their own bedroom, the lodges comprise community areas where interaction is encouraged.

Kitchens are back-to-back, with counters in between so patients can cook together. Day rooms, a library, exercise rooms, outdoor patios, all designed so patients can come together and share.

Each patient can bring a caregiver to assist them if needed.

Trivers has designed lodges affiliated with the University of Alabama Medical Center in Birmingham, Ala., the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., Baptist Hospital, Nashville, Tenn., the University of Tennessee in Memphis, Tenn., and the Oschner Clinic in New Orleans, La. They are currently designing facilities for Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

They are also in the preliminary design stage for a $60 million Hope Lodge project with the ACS for M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

“This fits into our mission,” Trivers says. “The not-for profit, serving people across the economic spectrum. Communities need to be diverse in all kinds of ways, so anything that contributes to that, we’re happy to be involved in.”

 

LEED® CERTIFICATION CHALLENGES

Designing for the environment ranks high on Trivers list, and their project for the University City City Hall exemplified their commitment.

Bill Chilton, AIA, LEED® Accredited Professional for Trivers, says they had started pursuing LEED® projects because many of their clients were becoming aware of the LEED® criteria and wanted to incorporate these items into their buildings—and it’s the right thing to do.

Regarding the city hall project, he says, “One of the biggest challenges was accommodating the new mechanical systems. Even though the mechanical system needed to be larger than the existing systems, this equipment and exposed piping had to have minimal impact on the building.”

Chilton says they met this challenge by installing sections of the mechanical system in rooms next to spaces where no previous mechanical components existed. “Specifically on the historic first and second floor rotunda and the historic second floor City Manager’s office.”

Another LEED® requirement was installing insulated glass into the existing window sashes to preserve the exterior’s historical appearance.

“Normally,” he says, “the window sashes would have been replaced, but that would have compromised the historic character of the building. Maintaining the existing window sashes is a new concept in historic renovation, and it turned out very well with this project.

Other LEED® projects in the design phase are:
The Laurel
(Hotel, condominiums and apartments in downtown St. Louis)
Washington University Busch Hall
(Renovation project of administration, faculty offices and classroom building)
San Antonio Post Office and Courthouse
(Renovation project in Texas)
New Bern Courthouse
(Renovation project in North Carolina)
Roberts Tower
(New high-rise hotel in downtown St. Louis)

Completed LEED® projects are:
Roberts Tower Sales Center
(Certified)
University City, City Hall
(Completed project, not yet submitted to the USGBC for certification)

Chilton says that Trivers has also been active in education workshops concerning LEED®. “We currently have 12 employees that are LEED® accredited professionals, which means that they have completed the training course and have passed the exam. Approximately one third of the firm is now LEED® accredited.”


 

 

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Shaun Hayes
Cover Story with Shaun Hayes, National City Bank
Amazing Spaces
4545 Lindell
Dave Sapenaro

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Carmele Hall and Leon Henderson
Big Brothers/Big Sisters
Andy Trivers
Steve Smith

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