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Sneak Peek: St. Louis Art Museum Expansion

The construction of the St. Louis Art Museum’s new addition is now complete, but it will be several months before it’s open to the public.

The East Building, as its name suggests, sits to the east of the main building and features a dark polished exterior.

It was designed by British architect Sir David Chipperfield.

Museum director Brent Benjamin says Chipperfield did an incredible job connecting and relating the new building with the old.

“In many ways very deferential to the original World’s Fair building, but has character of its own but it lives comfortably side by side,” Benjamin said. “I think that’s an extraordinary achievement knowing that this was always going to be a building that’s modern in character.”

Benjamin says the new space will allow the museum to showcase its Post World War II collection, much of which has been in storage.

The East Building features floor-to-ceiling windows on each side, as well skylights that cover much of the gallery space.

Museum Registrar Jeanette Fausz says that will allow visitors to view artworks in natural light.

Currently she says museum staff are taking readings on the light, temperature, and humidity to ensure the right conditions for artwork.

“The wonderful thing about the new building is that it’s not only designed as a beautiful space in which to view art, but it’s designed as a space in which to preserve art for future generations,” Fausz said.

Fausz hopes to begin the installation early next year. The grand opening will take place June 29-30.

The expansion also includes a 300-space parking garage, a 100-seat restaurant, and a corridor that will allow museum staff to move artworks without interrupting visitors.

Follow Maria Altman on Twitter: @radioaltman

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