The Gateway Arch Virtual Reality Theater: Your Gateway to the Past


From its awe-inspiring architecture to its national park status, the Gateway Arch hosts a wealth of stories below its iconic curve. One of those stories is an exciting 3D virtual reality experience that transports visitors to the 1850s St. Louis riverfront era. The new Virtual Reality Theater provides a chance to immerse visitors into St. Louis history — but, as summer travel season approached, the Gateway Arch Team needed to establish and brand their latest attraction.

In our most recent collaboration, Paradigm transformed an unused space beneath the Gateway Arch into an eye-catching, inviting experience for all ages.

Transforming a Blank Canvas

Not far from the lines making their way to the top of the Gateway Arch, there was a corner of the gathering space that sat untouched. When the idea for the 3D Virtual Reality Theater came to fruition, the Gateway Arch team wanted to activate the space, invite visitors into the experience and give the Virtual Reality Theater a home.

Our designers mapped out the area to determine the floor plans, to-scale mockups and layouts necessary to optimize theater space and elevate the experience. From there, our team created a large backdrop with a design inspired by graphic elements that built the Gateway Arch and supplemental signage that directs visitors to the theater.

Immersive Wall Art Design

The Virtual Reality Theater needed a design that would draw visitors in as they exit the museum or make their way to the trams. We developed a captivating wall art design sure to leave an impression. Our designers blended the past, present and future together to create wall art that told the story behind experience while also enlivening the space.

The design sits on a backdrop of the iconic 1850s St. Louis riverfront — layered with the Gateway Arch’s vibrant blue brand color. But, its focal point lies in the reimagination of the Gateway Arch itself.

We utilized a halftone design, which translates different tones of a photograph or graphic into dots into various sizes, consisting of the keystone triangles that built the Arch on the riverfront in the 1960s. The halftone effect gives our city’s iconic landmark a futuristic look from a distance. Up close, an array of triangles point forward — further emphasizing the future and the growth of technology with the Virtual Reality Theater.

Explore the Virtual Reality Theater

With the wall art installed and wayfinding pointing the way to a new adventure, the Virtual Reality Theater is now open to the public. We are proud of our work to enhance this space and shine a spotlight on their new experience. Visit the theater to explore our past through the lens of the future today!

For more on our latest work with the Gateway Arch and National Park Service, visit our work to discover our projects.