Wednesday, December 05, 2007

On Washington Avenue, a remarkable transformation

St. Louis has a long and not-so-proud tradition of bad Modern architecture.

Bad Modernism is so pervasive, in fact, that I blame St. Louis for making me hate Modernism for many years. It took a trip to Europe, and the roadside enthusiasm of several friends and acquaintances, to make me change my attitude.

And even after re-evaluation, much of St. Louis's more prominent Modernism doesn't hold up. Washington University has so much bad Modernism (Busch Labs, Monsanto, Mudd Hall, Compton Hall) that it's no wonder they've opted to scrap the idea entirely. It's enough to drive a body to Postmodernism.

What a shock it was, then, to drive past the old Days Inn at Washington and Tucker.

From a kitschy bit of weak 60s roadside Modern, an elegant and classy building has emerged... and with only a minimal bit of aesthetic tweaking. The basic form is still there, the angled window panels that distinctly dated it to the 1960s. But now, with a few simple wise choices in materials, the once-tired building steps into synch with its many renovated neighbors, while still not hiding its heritage. The ground floor is opened up a bit with partial glass facades, and a garage entrance on Washington has been eliminated, making a more pedestrian-friendly environment at the sidewalk.

The renovated building looks fantastic. Kudos to the owners for not tearing it down!


Anonymous said...

i want to live here.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That is a fantastic renovation. I wish more would be preserved like this.

Chris said...

Regardless of the architecture, the cleaning up of the northeast corner of Washington and Tucker is a Godsend. What was once a break in the cohesion of the avenue has been happily eliminated.

Anonymous said...

I had dinner across the street the other night and thought the building looked wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! The new building really looks great! Washington Ave. is really being transformed for the better.