The Wainwright Building
101 N. 7th Street
Architect: Adler & Sullivan
Status: renovated in the late 1970s; in use as a state office building.
The Wainwright, as an early solution to the stylistic problem of the skyscraper, is the single most architecturally important building in St. Louis. It is widely considered the breakthrough achievement of architect Louis Sullivan, mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright and developer of a uniquely American style of architecture.
The building's exterior is remarkably well preserved. Rather little remains of the original interior, however.
As part of St. Louis's urban environment, the Wainwright was once the centerpiece of Real Estate Row. Today, the destruction of the neighboring Demunil, International, Buder, and Title Guaranty Buildings has unfortunately destroyed the Wainwright's historical context; today it stands surrounded by a concrete parking garage, a sympathetic addition, and one of the city's most reviled buildings, the Postmodern-style Gateway One.
The Wainwright, like most of Sullivan's architecture, is as well-known for its intricate, organic ornamentation as for its clear structural expression. The images below show the various spandrel panels that are set between the windows:
Above 8th floor
Above 7th floor
Above 6th floor
Above 5th floor
Above 4th floor
Above 3rd floor