The Exterior Design of The Dome at America’s Center

The Dome at America’s Center was designed in a collaboration between HOK, the St. Louis-based international design firm, and HOK Sport of Kansas City, noted for its design of Camden Yards, Jacobs Field, Joe Robbie Stadium, Hong Kong Stadium and Anaheim Arena, among numerous major sport facilities worldwide.

In the design of the exterior facade for The Dome in St. Louis, emphasis of architectural detail was placed on the structure’s walls rather than on its massive dome. “The walls are where the city is and where the people are,” states Steven Brubaker, senior designer for HOK, The Dome project’s designer for the past five years. “We wanted the design to encourage urban life and activity in The Dome’s surrounding district.”

The Dome facade is consistent in many of its details with the south expansion of America’s Center which opened in May 1993. Architectural elements such as rotundas, turrets, ramps, pillars and portals extend along the entire convention complex in a manner Brubaker describes as “episodic” of “like pearls on a string.”

“The greatest detail has been placed in those elements which people see and use the most such as entries and ramps,” Brubaker explains. “Glass and openness, as well as signs, canopies and plazas, have been used to create welcoming areas for gathering and to add life to the street.”

Entry rotundas have been scaled to correlate with the Union Market and the Convention Center, reducing the scale of The Dome overall. “On the street, there is no sense of the dome element at all,” the designer says.

Views to the city are ever-changing from the ramp levels which provide close-up, seemingly touchable perspectives of the surrounding historic structures. On the east facade, the design impression of city towers defines the edge of the city while the nearby Eads Bridge piers are reflected in The Dome’s stair towers of large-scale masonry buttressing steel spans.

Further, a reference to the Arch is made in The Dome’s cantilevered ramps suggesting a floating quality evoking St. Louis’ renowned gateway symbol that seems to defy gravity.

For more information, please contact: Dana Collins, HOK, 314-421-2000.

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