St. Louis Building Arts Foundation

Mission Statement

The St. Louis Building Arts Foundation promotes public awareness of the crucial roles of architecture, manufacturing, construction, and urban design in the history and future of greater St. Louis.

The Foundation's work engages not only the fields of architectural history and historic preservation but also pressing civic issues. The Foundation aims to shape the built environment today by preserving and promoting the finest traditions in the building arts. Partnering with local industry, construction trades, universities, neighborhood groups, and government agencies, the Foundation aims to bring together vastly different segments of the metropolitan community who share a common concern for the health of St. Louis's urban landscape and historic building stock.

The Foundation is a federally-recognized 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization.


National Building Arts Center
In 2005, the St. Louis Building Arts Foundation acquired the former Sterling Steel Casting foundry in Sauget, Illinois just across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis. The 15-acre, 13-building facility is currently under renovation. Here, the Foundation is launching the National Building Arts Center, an unparalleled educational center housing our architectural artifacts collection and research library. The National Building Arts Center is envisioned as the nation's premiere museum of architecture.

The Foundation owns large, unique collections of architectural artifacts and literature essential to its educational mission and crucial to the work of historians and scholars across the country. The Foundation's artifact collection is the largest private collection in the United States and contains over 300,000 items. The Foundation also owns period working shops and production lines that will be used to demonstrate the process associated with the manufacturing of historic building materials, as well as the study and practice of materials conservation technology. The library encompasses an estimated quarter million rare and out of print books, periodicals, trade catalogs, historic photographs, drawings and other documents related to the building arts.

Through exhibits, tours, publications and other activities the Foundation engages the public on issues of architecture and design. Past exhibitions of Foundation artifacts have appeared at the Missouri Historical Society, Missouri Botanical Garden, Washington University, Sheldon Foundation for the Arts, the St. Louis University Art Museum, the First Street Forum and the Forum for Contemporary Art.

Outreach and Assistance
The Foundation provides assistance and advice to organizations, educational institutions, museums and government agencies that are undertaking preservation and conservation projects. Additionally, the Foundation aims to raise national awareness of St. Louis' incredible architecture.