Bob Cassilly’s City Museum at St. Louis is Alice-in-Wonderland, down-the-rabbit-hole surreal, going against the logical patterns and enforced pauses that define the ordered grid of a city.
The sound of children playing is the first thing you hear as you approach the gates, painting the air with the joy of play. But it’s misleading: The grown-ups who belong to them (and the ones who don’t) are at play, too. They traverse cage-like ladders to get to airplanes atop metal structures and meander across walkways and ramps built four stories in the air.
This is City Museum in downtown St. Louis, where anarchy is – sometimes quite literally – in the air.
Here, the rules that govern the city and its inhabitants are stripped away. The layout and structure itself is as if Dalí and Gaudí dropped acid in a salvage yard and miraculously managed to create a structure. There is only one directional sign at the front entrance, and the staffers at the ticket counter will tell you quite firmly that there are no maps.