Built St. Louis > > Vanished Buildings > > San Luis Apartments

As often happens in St. Louis, the 800-pound gorilla had its way. Despite a passionate, smart, and hip group of preservation-minded local residents fighting hard to save the building, interior demolition began in July 2009.

I snapped a few photographs of the proud lady in her final hours. Even as clouds of dust were rising from shattered windows, more and more the architecture spoke to me. The two side wings were solid box-like forms, punctured with windows on three sides, but open and overlain with a glass skin on the fourth. The main body was bracketed and overlapped by the two service towers, the white one at front and a dark brick one in the rear, emphasizing a playful geometry running throughout the building's design. I noticed how carefully those white towers were held off from the wings they served, a narrow windowed gap creating a deep separating shadow line.

The building was a careful and artful composition. Coming soon in its place: a parking lot.

Photographs: July 2009

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