Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chemical Building #2

I never get tired of the Chemical Building, with its thousand windows. I hope someday it will find an owner who has the money to renovate it.At least we can hopefully not have to worry if the building will be torn down. I hope we're over that failed policy in downtown St. Louis.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Union Trust

I know in the past I've complained that there aren't more tall buildings in St. Louis, but when you're standing at the base of the Union Trust, you realize that the buildings in St. Louis are tall enough. Humanely scaled and full of wonderful ornament.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Villa Borghese, Rome

The Villa Borghese, now really the largest park in Rome, was once the country estate of the Borghese family.Like many powerful Italian families, they blew all of their money and had to sell off large portions of their collections and property to the state.Much like St. Louis's Forest Park, you can see great art in the park. There's nothing better than a stroll through a park to an art Museum.The actually country house in the Villa Borghese now features an amazing collection of paintings and sculpture from antiquity up through the 18th Century.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Caserta, Campania, Italy

Every once and a while, I like to go back to the sources of much of St. Louis's architecture. Usually, that means Europe. The palace at Caserta, built outside Naples in the Campania region of Italy, sits right on the edge of the mountains that rise dramatically from the plains around the port city.A giant esplanade heads up into the mountain, terminating with a sculptural depiction of "Diana and Acteon" before heading up a steep cascade of water.It is easily one of the most beautiful places I've traveled to in the world. St. Louis has several parks that use elements common throughout palace grounds such as Caserta.The English Garden, to the southeast of the dramatic cascade, is what we in America call a park.Arranged around carefully contrived vistas that are supposed to look "natural," our own Forest Park or Tower Grove Park are the direct descendants of the English Gardens of the 18th Century.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Interior, Brew House, Anheuser Busch Brewery

After posting yesterday's pictures of the A-B Brewery, I started thinking about the other brewery buildings still standing throughout the city.While I consider all of the breweries in St. Louis to be beautiful, they all are largely functional in style, and lack an abundance of ornamentation.The Anheuser Busch Brewery is totally different; it is exuberantly decorated, both inside and out.There seems to have been a conscious effort to make the workers feel like they were working somewhere special, and not just some humdrum factory. In the present day, where so many people work in cubicles in windowless office buildings, we could learn a few lessons from the past.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Brew House, Anheuser Busch Brewery

They sure don't build industrial buildings like this anymore. Even though it doesn't need to be ornamented to brew beer, the brew house makes a statement about the solid basis on which this company was founded.Harkening back to the Old Country, the Romanesque Revival architecture reminds customers of the brewery's German roots.I like how they have kept this building; it would have been easy to knock it down and build a new one, but they kept it, stressing the continuity of the brand.The dramatic smoke billowing out of the brewery on the day I was photographing was impressive. I love how if the wind is blowing right, I can step out my front door and smell beer being brewed, or coffee being roasted.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tyler-Coleman Cemetery

I found an old cemetery out in Babler State Park; dating from the early 19th Century to the mid 20th, it represents a broad cross-section of different types of grave markers over the last two centuries. It also reminds us that the area has been settled for much longer than it sometimes seems.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sign Fail

Seriously, could they have made this sign any more ugly on the side of an historic St. Louis landmark?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Greensfelder Center, Queeny Park

I literally had not visited Queeny since my high school graduation in 1996. Little had changed, though they have painted the bad mansards a weird forest green. I know nothing about this building, but it looks to be from the early 1970's. Here's all sorts of great information on the park.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Missouri Historical Society

The History Museum is still a great building, even if it has the awful addition out the back that obscures its back facade.Enclosed since at least the earl 1980's, the main hall is a great public space.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First Church of Christ, Scientist, Town and Country

We stumbled upon this church at the intersection of Highway 40 and Mason Road, set back from the road a bit.I'd driven by a million times, but this was the first time I looked at the church up close.We talked to one of the two Readers, and she said a member brought his cherry picker over one time and cleaned off the pillars out front.Overall, the church has been carefully preserved, with no crumby vinyl sided additions or other poorly matched repairs.This congregation certainly understands the importance of maintaining its church.I like the original light fixture set on the side of the building as well.The rock wall serves as a nice balance for the accordian-like stone pattern interspersed with colored glass.What looks to be the library has large windows that face out onto the grounds of the property. From what I could see, there was a large balcony wrapping around the two story room.Finally, I don't know what this curved room is; I know in Catholic churches this would be a baptistry.Another nice feature is that the vast majority of the parking is concealed around back, and the front lawn is unadulterated by blacktop.

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