Wednesday, September 15, 2010

St. Louis County Government Center, Clayton

The county courthouse is massive, and its repeating pattern design makes it seem even more so. I liked the old one better, but obviously it was too small.The courthouse and nearby jail even have their own Bridge of Sighs, just like in Venice, Italy. I like the one in Venice better.The jail, whether you like it or not, is a great example of 1990's penal architecture. While in the past, jails and prisons were meant to stand out as fortification-like landmarks, nowadays governments attempt to make jails blend in with the landscape, as no one wants to live or work next to a jail.The county jail is a perfect example of the "kinder, gentler" prison.Then there's the county building, built in true Brutalist style, looking more like a fortress than a welcoming government building.The sparse, stripped down exterior is typical of many Clayton office buildings. Across the street is a parking lot.These first floor windows make me wonder if they were expecting an invasion or something. But actually, it was relatively common in the late 1960's and 70's to build government buildings that were "riot proof."

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A Blog detailing the beauty of St. Louis architecture and the buildup of residue-or character-that accumulates over the course of time.