Climatron, St. Louis, MO
1905 - 1985

Emmet John Layton

Born in St. Louis, Missouri on March 27, 1905, Layton attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst before receiving a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Architecture degree from Washington University in 1931 and 1933 respectively. He received additional training at the Missouri Botanical Garden, taught by botanist Dr. Edgar Anderson and landscape architect John Noyes. In 1939, Layton established a St. Louis-based landscape architecture and planning firm, whose site planning work ranged from institutional, religious, and academic institutions to larger scale community and city planning efforts. By the peak of his career Layton had worked in more than twenty cities in Missouri, Illinois and Minnesota.  

In 1959 he partnered with his wife, horticulturist Ruth Layton, forming Layton, Layton & Associates. The many sites Layton designed include portions of the Gateway Mall, the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library (now National Churchill Museum), the National Shrine of our Lady of the Snows, the National Council of State Garden Club Headquarters, Jefferson Barracks Historic Park, Mansion House Center and the Missouri Botanical Garden. Along with his partners, Layton developed the master plan for the botanical garden, re-establishing the site’s original north-south axis. He also contributed to the design of the garden’s geodesic domed Climatron. In addition to working in private practice, Layton taught landscape architecture and city planning at Washington University and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He became a fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1969 and retired in 1972. Layton died in 1985 in Clearwater Beach at the age of 80. He is buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.