1M Gallon, $45M Aquarium With Ferris Wheel Union Station

Downtown construction activity, including hotel projects, major renovations, office projects, streetscape improvements, etc.
I find the design uninspired. For those of us who went to the old 80's style mall in Union Station, it still looks too much like that eyesore, i.e. they didn't do a full gut rehab and it just looks like someone dropped a temporary looking acquatic exhibit into the middle of an abandoned 80's mall. Hopefully they will do more with this space to make it look more permanent and like it actually belongs there.
SouthCityJR wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:38 pm
I find the design uninspired. For those of us who went to the old 80's style mall in Union Station, it still looks too much like that eyesore, i.e. they didn't do a full gut rehab and it just looks like someone dropped a temporary looking acquatic exhibit into the middle of an abandoned 80's mall. Hopefully they will do more with this space to make it look more permanent and like it actually belongs there.
I understand your view, the lack of a gut rehab makes it seem like they're doing a cheap job, makes you wonder what other corners they'll cut. HOWEVER I actually have a huge problem with this stance. You shouldn't go through tearing things out and replacing them just because people will recognize them from the previous use of the space. I completely agree though that they need to make up for this in other ways, replace the flooring but leave the old railings, put in the highest quality finishes and lighting, etc. Honestly, I hope they actually leave the old lamps (although my guess is they're already gone). HOK actually did an amazing job with that mall. The design itself was probably one of the reasons it lasted as long as it did.
While it's nice that irrelevant mall space is being put to some use I can't help but be disappointed that every few decades we spend $$ trying to yet again reinvent a train station.
Will this aquarium design endure even 20 years as a destination? What next?
Union station was designed to be an impressive reception room for travelers and until we realize that authenticity ( with commuter trains that back out of the shed if they have to 🙀) we will continue to flail about expensively, one reimagination after another.

For those who only want to hear short term optimism, I offer up: 'This is exciting. So glad Saint Louis will finally have a real aquarium ! '
Imran, I couldn't agree with you more about how our world class (still architecturally) train station should be a train station.

However, I think I disagree with your pessimism about the longevity of the aquarium. I think that's a use to last, so long as they do it well. If it's set up like a cheap short-term exhibit, then you could be right. But I have a feeling that's not the plan for this.

I think about zoos in other cities. They can't touch the top zoos in the country like ours or San Diego, etc. But there are plenty of small zoos that have been around for a long time because it's still a unique attraction to their city and they're well maintained even if they aren't the biggest or the best.

Now the pessimistic optimist would say that's actually a bad thing because it essentially nullifies the possibility of it ever becoming a train station again.
Thought this was a big fail in regards to the Polar Express thing that they have. They spelled “Circle” wrong. ImageImage
chriss752 wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:56 pm
Thought this was a big fail in regards to the Polar Express thing that they have. They spelled “Circle” wrong. ImageImage
That's how you spell it at the north poll?? :?
I thought it was the arcane Italian word 'ciricle' (chuh-ree-klay) which loosely means 'to go around in circles...' :wink:
Anybody have an update on this project?

I haven't noticed any work on the outside of the shed. As much as I think ferris wheels are overrated, I think it will look good once it goes in. I just can't imagine that they're going to put all of this money into Union Station and not coat the roof panels on the shed. Every time I drive downtown I notice how much they stick out and look terrible all rusted and discolored.
The twitter account put out a tease about John Goodman doing voiceover for a promo video. That's all I have seen in awhile.
This week in the Post Dispatch there was a profile of Bob O'Loughlin put out by their Marketing Deprtment that further elaborated on the new train ride. Curious what that will look like,.
"Other features will include a 200-foot Ferris wheel and a train ride. The Ferris wheel is a throwback to the 1904 World’s Fair, and it will tell a part of the fair’s history. It will have 30 fully enclosed, climate controlled gondolas that seat up to six adults each. The train ride features a boarding pass for guests that provides a timeline into the history of St. Louis."
DogtownBnR wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:46 pm
^Here is a link:

http://www.stltoday.com/business/advanc ... 244D77E2ED
Sounds like a lot will happen this summer as per paragraph from article

O’Loughlin’s next venture is a $160 million makeover for Union Station that includes an aquarium, Ferris wheel and other interactive features. The project is currently in demolition mode and will span three to four months. The entire project is gauged to take 14 to 18 months and should be complete by spring or early summer 2019. The aquarium will be 125,000 square feet and located in the former mall area.
I was just there and they have walls up for the demo of the aquarium along with renderings advertising it.
Wonderfully done spot for the Aquarium, narrated by John Goodman:


On a side note: I absolutely adore the logo they created for the Aquarium.
^ I'm really looking forward to seeing how this does and I'm glad to see it should be open fairly soon.... maybe even before Loop Trolley!
Trololzilla wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:12 am
Wonderfully done spot for the Aquarium, narrated by John Goodman:


On a side note: I absolutely adore the logo they created for the Aquarium.
As a designer, I LOVE the concept to the mark, but cringe at the details (both of the mark and very much of the lettering).
Same. I love the concept, but the execution isn't good. The logo isn't doing their brand any favors. I hope it is modified before they open.
I rather like the logo. It needs to say classic. It almost has to look old to fit with a structure from the 1890s. I think it does that without looking stale. What type faces would you guys prefer to see? (I gather your objections are more to the type than the graphics.)
symphonicpoet wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:54 pm
I rather like the logo. It needs to say classic. It almost has to look old to fit with a structure from the 1890s. I think it does that without looking stale. What type faces would you guys prefer to see? (I gather your objections are more to the type than the graphics.)
The typeface doesn't thrill me, but it's not really the face that I take issue with. It's the details. This may or may not mean anything to you, but instead of typesetting the letters on a curve, a warp has been applied to create an arc. As a result, there's distortion to the letters rather than simply rotation.

And the animal fleur de lis is a wonderful and appropriate concept, but the drawing lacks refinement.

I acknowledge those details don't mean much to a lot of people, but I do think they matter and those are the things that will wrankle me every time I see it.
Here is the logo is question, for reference:

Image







Also, what all is being demolished? Anything particularly important, historically?
RuskiSTL wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:29 pm


Also, what all is being demolished? Anything particularly important, historically?
I would guess nothing of note, seems like it is just taking out the mall that was built in that area.
^ I don't think they're allowed to demolish anything of substantial historical merit.
It really bums me out that Amtrak trains don't pull into Union Station. With all the new investment (Ferris wheel, train park, light show, aquarium, not to mention the beautiful grand hall and hotel) it would really make a good impression on folks coming in from Chicago, KC, and smaller towns inbetween.

Although the multi-modal station does the job, it's a pretty lack luster welcome to our fair city. I'm always envious of how impressive KC looks when of pulling into their Union Station and walking through the beautiful grand hall. It has a big city feel and they have done a great job in activating the space.

Maybe once the gateway station ages, a new effort to bring Amtrak to Union Station will build momentum...it's such a no-brainier to improve visitor impressions.
As miserable as Gateway Station is, even I can't support a push to get Amtrak back at Union Station. Maybe a 75 years from now in my wonderful post-car dream-world and Union Station has 20 different Commuter Rail lines running out of it (like equivalent European cities do now)... then maybe. But in the mean time, their current set-up shaves quite a bit of time and headache off the MO and IL routes and a WHOLE lot of time off of the Texas Eagle.
aprice wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:00 pm
As miserable as Gateway Station is, even I can't support a push to get Amtrak back at Union Station. Maybe a 75 years from now in my wonderful post-car dream-world and Union Station has 20 different Commuter Rail lines running out of it (like equivalent European cities do now)... then maybe. But in the mean time, their current set-up shaves quite a bit of time and headache off the MO and IL routes and a WHOLE lot of time off of the Texas Eagle.
Yeah back in traffic is forever gone I think. If there was a need for a new transit center I would favor building it in place of the old wherenberg theatre. That's where gateway should have been put originally anyway. In the mean time I would be happy if they stopped trying o route every bus and train through a single node which aside from a surplus of transit options has very little to offer for a downtown experience.