The Old Post Office and Customs House located in St. Louis, Missouri is on the National Register of Historic Places, and one of the most storied historic structures in the General Services Administration’s inventory. The 1872 Second Empire style masterpiece is one of the finest of its kind still in existence. The building is occupied by a State Court of Appeals, offices for the State Attorney General, a local university branch campus, a library, and a community newspaper.
The restoration of the building was a meticulous undertaking. The GSA, Department of the Interior, FEMA’s National Advisory Council and several historic watchdog agencies were all involved at some level in review or approval of design undertakings. The nearly 3-year design and approval process was comprehensive and included careful assessment of lighting updates and restoration.
The building’s exterior elevations, including their resplendent stonework, were brought to life after dark with a well-orchestrated blending of soft façade illumination with precise detailed accent lighting. The elevation’s larger open expanses were illuminated in a straightforward fashion from street pole based floodlighting and controlled uplight from the surrounding dry-moat. Small low-voltage LED accent lights were integrated into various architectural details to unveil the intricate ornamental work, including the continuous cornice line that embraces the building’s rooftop. Statuary appeared after dark for the first time in the building’s 100+ year history through accent lighting cantilevered from the base of the roof.
Interior courtroom and atrium spaces include reconstructed chandeliers and other restored sconces, all fitted with current light source technologies. Augmenting of the general illumination was done using carefully concealed downlighting instruments. Ligating controls were upgraded in all the major interior spaces to provide programmatic flexibility responsive to the needs of a 21st century work environment, as well to better manage energy use.