Constructed as an addition to the larger Marquette Building, the Marquette Annex was in some ways the more elegant of the two. The Annex was a Chicago School building to the core, with every element emphasizing the vertical - from thin brick piers, to the even more slender decorative columns that subdivided the window bays. It offered a colorful contrast to the solid-white facade of the Marquette, and harmonized beautifully with the Security Building next door. Its street-level details included relief panels and handsome arch-topped display windows.
In short, it was a fine building, and an integral and significant part of downtown's dwindling collection of turn-of-the-century office buildings. It was thrown away with an appallingly casual attitude.
The Marquette Building Annex, circa 1995, and its
ghostly after-image imprinted on the main Marquette Building in late 1998. Top image courtesy of Toby Weiss.
The annex was brought down in 1998, to be replaced with a parking structure, which was supposed to support luxury condominiums in the renovated main Marquette Building. But not only has the condominium development not happened.... not only has the retail space at the garage's base remained empty... but the garage itself is a travesty of urban design, and is in no way a worthy sucessor to this tasteful little building it replaced.
This bland, faceless, tasteless, concrete parking garage has no place in the center of St. Louis's downtown, and no business replacing a building as handsome as the old annex. The garage's northern face juts all the way out to the street, destroying the respectful building line that the adjacent Security Building maintains. It contrasts abysmally with both of its historic neighbors, lacking any sense of scale or detailing. The only concession it makes to its urban environment is the retail space at street level.
I can accept that attached parking was a requirement to make the Marquette Building's revitalization viable... if it had actually happened. But in any case, I cannot believe that this is the best they could do.
The detail images above were sent to me by Toby Weiss and are used with her gracious permission. At left, a detail of a window and spandrel panel; below, images from the 1998 demolition.
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