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Friday, March 14, 2008

Landmarks Statement on San Luis Apartments

The Board of Directors of Landmarks Association has issued a statement supporting rehabilitation of the former DeVille Motor Hotel (San Luis Apartments). Read it here.


Chris said...

I agree that this building should be saved, but I disagree with this statement:

"Most recently the San Luis Apartments, the building maintains the street wall on Lindell, enhancing the context of the Cathedral."

How does a Modernist building enhance the context of a Romanesque/Byzantine Revival style cathedral?

john w. said...

Setting aside architectural style, I would say that while it obviously complements and continues the more modern language of the building wall to west, it really doesn't relate to the cathedral in the street context much at all. With chancellory in between, there is simply too much disjunction of forms, the open spaces created between both the chancellory and the apartments is as ill-defined as is the space between the chancellory and the cathedral. As should be no surprise, modernism doesn't typically care for company, and usually insists on its offsetting space so that it can exult in own anti-historical way. Amusingly ironic that now the mid-century modernist buildings are being viewed as historical artifact, and fight for preservation. Though the form and detailing of the chancellory building are exquisite, its siting is immaterial and could be placed arguably anywhere.

Michael R. Allen said...


The street wall on Lindell enhances the context of the Cathedral. By maintaining that street wall through height and set back, the San Luis contributes to the urban context. Definitely, there is some architectural dissonance, but I find that refreshing.


I actually think the lawns around the cathedral and chancery provide a nice break from the street wall on Lindell. The chancery could be placed anywhere, but on its current site it provides a strong contrast with the cathedral. Both buildings benefit, in my opinion.

john w. said...

I think I would prefer the break from the street wall to be a bit more defined in terms of the grounds affronting the public sidewalk along Lindell. Any of it is better than inarticulated surface parking, even if it is parking for Lord (LOL!).

Anonymous said...

Some long time residents of the Lou, especially those on the north side, refer to this place as "San Luis".

Do you think the owners of the San Luis Apartments know that? Do any of the bloggers?

Anonymous said...

To clarify that last post, those long time northsiders refer to "St. Louis" as "San Luis". Probably most St. Louisans have no clue as to the name of the apartments...Me? I like calling St. Louis "San Luis". It rolls off the tongue easier.

Chris said...


I'm just biased by cities like Munich and Rome where high-rises are banned from the center city, allowing church spires and campaniles to dominate the city like they have for centuries. Obviously, St. Louis is not a European city, so we can allow for different points of view.