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
“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
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
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
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
“We did the first renovation in 1985,” Trivers says. “Then we
came back and did a more extensive renovation to the original
Those 30,700-square-foot renovations included space for a dance
studio and rehearsal studio, performance theater, art gallery
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
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
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
“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
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.
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
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.”
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
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
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.”
Designing for the environment ranks high on Trivers list,
and their project for the University City City Hall exemplified
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
“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
• The Laurel
(Hotel, condominiums and apartments in downtown St. Louis)
• Washington University Busch Hall
(Renovation project of administration, faculty offices and
• 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
• 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®