Friday, April 6, 2012

Modernist House, Town and Country

I recently had the opportunity to document a unique--and very long--modernist house out west in Town and Country. The developer/real estate agent kindly offered me the chance to document the house before it was demolished for a new house.
The house sits on a large lot, and has a beautiful pond in front of the house. Records show the house was first built in 1949, and then a large expansion and renovation pushed the house to close to 200 feet long, almost the entire width of the property.
The natural setting kept pulling my eyes away from the actual house, which is interesting in its own right.
The origins and architect of the house remain a mystery, but the original portion of the house captures beautiful views out to the flowering magnolias and other landscaping features.
While comparisons to the more famous Morton D. May house could be made, I don't feel it's the best comparison. While the May house had large amounts of original fabric, I'm afraid upon my inspection that this house was stripped of any interesting Modernist fixtures or accents in the 1980's renovation.
What was left was largely a very giant house, stretching a long way and with a lot of oddly shaped rooms lacking Modernist context.
The back of the house was not looking too hot, and betrayed its age. The living room, seen below, was really the centerpiece of the interior of the house.
I can imagine how originally this room followed Frank Lloyd Wright's desire for the interior and exterior to flow seamlessly between the two realms.
But unfortunately, like all flat roofed houses (and particularly seeming to strike Modernist houses), the only thing flowing the day I was there was an obviously large pool of standing water on the roof, as evidenced by the reflected ripples on the wall above the ceiling. Stripped of its original fabric, this Modernist house is an interesting footnote in St. Louis architectural history.
Philip Vincent, who generously allowed me to photograph the house before it was demolished, asked me to post this:

I'd like to give you a couple facts about the house. Built in 1949, 6000 square feet, 180 feet wide. The old house prevented people from understanding the true size of the 2.6 acres.

After a year of showing it to rehabbers and Modern "fans" we have decided to bring the old house down to make way for a new home in the 1.5 to 2 million range. The new home will also be 6000 square feet (but not 180 feet wide!) The realtor is Phillip Vincent 314-537-7445 with the Hermann London Group. My website is

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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.