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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

St. Louis Hills Office Center to be Rehabbed, Not Fully Demolished

Fans of mid-century modern design had already mourned the loss of the St. Louis Hills Office Center, that multi-story brick office building at Chippewa and Watson in St. Louis Hills. Eloquent prose and loving photographs are online at Toby Weiss' B.E.L.T. and Rob Powers' Built St. Louis. Demolition work is underway, with the parking garage heavily destroyed and the office building notably damaged. However, an article in yesterday's Southwest City Journal reports that the elusive owners are in fact renovating the office building, not demolishing it. Only the parking garage will be completely removed.

However, given the damage to the office building the new version will certainly be something less that what was there before. The eulogies may still prove apt.


LisaS said...

I always wonder whether I would rather see a building torn down rather than hopelessly remuddled. I suppose if it's still standing it can still be saved, but it's beginning to make getting around town difficult since I tend to avoid driving by formerly cool buildings whose owners have ruined them.

Dan Stevens said...

Hello. This is Dan Stevens, the "elusive" owner of the building. (I don't know why the term elusive was used, I'm right here where I've always been. You can email me at ozarktheater@aol.com )

If you fully understood the design and construction flaws in the parking garage you would also understand why the parking structure demo is occuring. It was not properly designed & built to last vis-a-vis decades of hot/cold weather, rain, salt and vehicular traffic. It became unsaveable, notwithstanding the major expenses we incurred trying to fix it.

As it is the best part of the building will remain standing. I don't know what the essay is talking about "damage to the remaining struture." Great care is being exercised NOT to damage the west wing. And that's the wing that contained some distintive period architecture. So don't bother your mind with trouble borrowed from the future. If you like the building submit some ideas for it...we are listening.

Dan Stevens said...

Hi, Dan Stevens again to put your mind to rest about the building being "hopelessly remuddled." that isn't what's going to happen.

The unsaveable part of the building is being sacrificed to save the good part. Original, matching bricks from the demoed part will be used to cosmetically cover the small part of the exterior where the bend was. Otherwise the exterior architecture stays the same. This is hardly what I would call "remuddling." In fact the building was built as two structures. There is a solid masonry wall running from ground to roof at the building separation point. Plus due to the angle it sits at you can only even see where the cutoff point is from a few select spots.

It will look as good or better than it did when built. The parking garage structure was never much to look at. It's bland, totally institutional construction that was added just to increase square footage. It never did anything except that and perhaps block out a big part of the skyline.

The changes underway are for the good. Stay tuned.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Dan for getting in on the dialogue. It's nice to see this as a conversation between concerned citizens, rather than just another too-easily ignored one-sided rant.