Image courtesy of Kyrle Boldt III

Modern art, architecture and decorative arts created in the middle of the 20th century were swamped by the reactionary ruckus of the late 20th century post-modernist movement. 

Given the quality and originality of so much of the mid-century’s aesthetic industry, its relegation to obscurity was a big mistake and a now recognized lapse of taste. However, all wasn’t lost. A new exhibition opening this weekend at the St. Louis Art Museum joins other scholarship and exhibitions dedicated to setting the record straight.

Young students learn about design, architecture and working together at the Alberti Program.
Alberti Program blog

With middle age comes maturity and often maturity brings resources, making it possible to look around and discover how one can help out in the community. It’s wonderful when you land on something appropriate, something close to home, and something that just might make a difference in someone’s life. For the Mackey Mitchell Architecture firm, The Alberti Program-Architecture for Young People presented such a possibility.

Mackey Mitchell is almost a half-century old. The Alberti Program is almost 10 years old. Alberti is for children, and it is named for Leon Battista Alberti, the 15th century polymathic Florentine genius whose animated intelligence and aesthetic prowess seemed to know no boundaries.

From left to right, Andrew Weil, Lance LeComb, Bill Schnell, and David Lott.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

The collapse of the 155-year-old Cutlery Factory building on Laclede’s Landing last week may have been a freak event, but along with the two-year closure forecast for rebuilding the Kingshighway bridge, it has raised legitimate questions about the sustainability and strength of St.

Paul Hohmann, Vanishing STL
Áine O'Connor

When driving through parts of St. Louis City, one cannot help but notice the plight of urban decay. Like many other major cities across the country, St. Louis has suffered from a declining population, fleeing middle-class and other signs of urban abandonment. Additionally, in the midst of the urban decay lies the disappearing architectural history of many deteriorating buildings in the city.

Architectural historian Lynn Josse tells a tour group about the history of the Laclede Power Plant built in 1901 on Saturday, June 6, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The National Register of Historic Places has four listings within the footprint of the proposed riverfront football stadium in St. Louis. A group of preservationists wants the NFL Stadium Task Force to take a second look at their plan to demolish the historic buildings that date back as far as the 1870s.

The Shell Building
Chris Yunker | Flickr

The Shell Building downtown is defined by its curved walls and thickly spaced windows. Designer Jeremy Clagett says the architecture lightly mimics the shape of a shell pulled from the sea. He also said securing its preservation helps the city’s future as much as its past.

Paul Sableman | Flickr

A rare, mid-19th century, triangular type of house known as a "flounder" is the subject of a survey being conducted by the city of St. Louis.

Image by Don McKenna
Courtesy of the International Photography Hall of Fame

A new exhibit at the International Photography Hall of Fame bridges the gap between personal perspective and the unfeeling materials of stone, brick and steel. According to Executive Director John Nagel, 72, this focus can be found in the exhibit’s unfamiliar images of a well-known city.

“This is not the greatest hits of St. Louis architecture,” he said.

Thomas Jefferson Statue in lobby of New Masonic Temple
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

Owners of the New Masonic Temple on Lindell Boulevard in Midtown St. Louis hope the New Year brings renewed interest in the building, which is for sale. Building manager John Vollman has spent years volunteering at the space.

“It’s a pleasure to come in here most days. You just feel the history,” said Vollman.

Gustel R. Kiewitt
Provided by the family

After Kitty Mollman’s husband, Clay, died in the summer of 2012 after a long illness, she and her daughter, Melanie Mollman Hancock, decided it was high time to renovate their family’s home in Ladue. It needed fixing-up and painting-up; and some do-it-yourself remedies made along the way needed undoing.

Brett Loehmann, a graduate student in the Sam Fox Design and Visual Arts program at Washington University, photographs the Railway Exchange Building on Sept. 17, 2014.
Sid Hastings / Washington University Photos

A graduate architecture class wants to change the Railway Exchange Building.

The 1.2 million-square-foot, 100-year-old building at Locust and Sixth streets in downtown St. Louis was once home to the Famous-Barr flagship store and its parent company’s headquarters. It was converted to a Macy’s store in 2006, but that closed last year.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

If you go out looking for the 13th floor of a tall building in St. Louis, you may have a hard time finding it.

An informal survey by St. Louis Public Radio of 68 skyscrapers in the St. Louis area finds about 41 percent skip over 13 in counting their floors. Not surprisingly, most of them are hotels or residential properties where people pay to stay.

“A lot of clients do not like to have a 13th floor. They think that it is bad luck,” said Catalina Freixas, an architect and assistant professor of architecture at Washington University.

Michael Allen, Preservation Research Office

A part of downtown East St. Louis will likely be listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the end of September, and city officials hope that designation will spark revitalization.

The Downtown East St. Louis Historic District encompasses two blocks of Collinsville Avenue, a block and a half of Missouri Avenue and the south side of one block of St. Louis Avenue.

postcard for Fourneir exhibit at Maryville
May Gallery At Maryville University

It’s not as if everyone were oblivious to the architecture of the middle of the 20th century in St. Louis before current interest in it took hold. Prominent mid-century landmarks that are, or were, part of our regional consciousness: the Saarinen Arch, certainly; Samuel Marx’s Clayton Famous-Barr building on Forsyth Boulevard; the Teamster’s complex on Grand Boulevard, with the space-agey former Phillips 66 station enjoying new life as a Starbucks and Chipotle restaurant, and until recently, Edward Durell Stone’s mid-1960s Busch Stadium.

Provided by Gene Mackey III

Eugene Mackey III was a college sophomore in 1958, pursuing a degree in English at St. John’s University, Collegeville, Minn., when all of a sudden his architect father, the late Eugene J. Mackey Jr., asked him if he’d like to make a father-son six-weeks tour of Europe. The college boy said sure. Who wouldn’t?

Zoe Scharf / (Courtesy STL Design Week 2013)

From darts to bike tours to artwork made out of old books, STL Design Week 2013 is all about looking at and talking about design in new and interesting ways.

"This is the third year for Design Week, and Design Week was started by AIGA, which are graphic artists," said Margaret McDonald. "And this year it encompasses architects, illustrators, interior designers, industrial designers."

McDonald is chairperson for STL Design Week 2013, and a principal at architecture and interior design firm Arcturus.

(via Flickr/Reading Tom)

The St. Louis region is rich with architecturally significant and interesting structures and buildings.

There is a mix of traditional American, European and other foreign influences, side by side with a reflection of a more modern style.

The Gateway Arch often draws the most attention as the architectural focal point of St. Louis but many other structures such as the Wainwright Building, one of the world’s first skyscrapers built in 1892, and the Eads Bridge are significant.  Plus, many St. Louis’ neighborhoods are architecturally rich.

(via Flickr/ScottSpaeth)

The city of St. Louis will spend the next two years documenting and researching area buildings that went up during the post-World War II construction boom.

Michael Allen, Preservation Research Office


2011 was an excellent year for historic preservation in the region, and here are some of the reasons why.

Priory Chapel

Dec 17, 2010
HOK Priory Chapel
Remiss63 on

Photo by "Remiss 63" on

Join the St. Louis Public Radio Flickr group to see interesting photos from the St. Louis region and submit your own. Each week, we feature on our Web site one outstanding photo from the group.