September Tour of the Sachs Museum at Missouri Botanical Garden

Every year on our program calendar, the Greater St. Louis Chapter of CSI includes a tour of a significant local architectural project, historical site, or construction facility. This year's September meeting featured the recently renovated Stephen and Peter Sachs Museum at the Missouri Botanical Garden.  The scientific heart of the Garden for more than a century before closing to the public in 1982, Henry Shaw's original museum was reopened following a painstaking restoration and offers a unique opportunity to view rarely seen art, artifacts, and more collected over the last 160 years. 

Before actually touring the restored facility, we had a lunch buffet featuring a presentation by representatives from project stakeholders, each of whom gave their unique perspective on this successful restoration and addition project. Paul Brockmann, Senior Vice President General Services from Missouri Botanical Garden, provided an overview of the history of Henry Shaw's establishment of the garden, and outlined the owner's goals for restoring the ante-bellum museum building. Denise Buehrer, Project Architect at Christner, the architect for the restoration, walked us through the iterative process of designing a fully functioning modern facility that conformed to site and historic constraints. And Josh Fisk, Project Manager for Tarlton, the contractor, described the almost daily surprises encountered in demolition and impressed us all with the professional solutions arrived at by all three parties to the contract. 

The tour of the building itself was evidence of the diligent work of the project team. Previously unknown portraits discovered - some in fragments - above a dropped ceiling were restored or recreated. Historic Victorian era ceiling murals were painstakingly recreated. Original glass display cases were protected, and refurbished. It was, all in all, an impressive afternoon. For we in the world of CSI who preach the benefits of coordination and communication among all the many talented parties in the construction process, it was gratifying to see the ideal realized is the collaboration that resulted in a restored Sach Museum.

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