St. Louis, Missouri was once a highly industrialized city. Warehouses and factories filled the downtown grid and waterfront. Today the city is still home to many large-name industries but many of the factories have relocated into the suburbs. As the riverfront is undergoing a grand-scale renewal, many of the empty factories and warehouses are being transformed into high-end loft buildings, offices, and one in particular has become The City Museum.
The City Museum is the former home of the International Shoe Company. The warehouse is nearly 600,000 square feet, and stands nine stories tall. It is an eclectic mixture of playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architecture constructed from unique, found objects. It’s connection to the city is deeply rooted as all of the elements in the museum come from within the city boundaries. Upon entering visitors will find old chimneys, salvaged bridge pieces, construction cranes, transportation tiles, a retired fire engine, an old school bus cantilevers over the side of the building and two old airplanes have been placed on the rooftop as part of a sky-maze that overlooks the city. A four-story ferris wheel was recently relocated from a local theme park to the rooftop of the museum.
There are more interactive and educational attractions offered to visitors, but the main idea behind the museum isn’t that the visitor absorbs facts, but rather that the visitor is intrigued and begins to imagine the possibilities of interaction and innovation with routine objects.