27 January 2009

An Interesting Question--

I am all for architectural preservation. In fact, as a traditional Catholic, it is sort of a requirement. But while some buildings are clearly worth preserving, others are...well, not so clearly deserving.

There is a protest planned for February 15, 2009 outside the San Luis apartment building on Lindell, across from the Cathedral. The Archdiocese, the owner of this property, has plans to tear down the building to provide additional parking for Rosati-Kain High School. Local architecture buffs are trying to get the Archdiocese to change its plan.

I don't find this building beautiful, to say the least. Modern architecture of the style of the San Luis doesn't move me. Tearing down the Cathedral to provide parking for the San Luis would be unthinkable. But I can't get excited about the opposite proposition.

One man's eyesore is another man's art. What do readers think of this issue?


Anonymous Trad said...

How about tearing down the Archdiocesan spaceship administration building too! That could make more needed parking for the Cathedral.

Patrick Kinsale said...

As one whose mother used to live there at the San Luis Apartments, and as one who has been involved in historic preservation issues, I say: Tear It Down -- Fast.

There is not much to it, historically, and there are more needs. If I were the archdiocese, I would put in a combined parking structure and office or apartment space to rent so they can make some money off the real estate while using it as parking for the cathedral and the high school.

Fenian said...

As far as I know, Cardinal Ritter must have been losing money for them to close the apartments. I am not a fan of more parking lots, but I would not be opposed.

Here's a suggestion. Let's tear down the Angel of Harmony statue outside of the Cathedral. It could provide at least one parking space. That, and it would stop offending my sense of decency every time I walked by.

dulac90 said...

While I disagree that the structure is irreplaceable, or even appropriate for contemporary society, I can understand the concern over a loss of density along Lindell.

What's ironic is that this structure was designed to accommodate the automobile age. Something previous was demolished to make way for this "solution" to the needs of suburban man. Now this will be demolished to make way for the natural evolution of that culture.

What it was built to promote has moved beyond it, and it is no longer relevant. A parking lot should be viewed as a placeholder for something to come. Perhaps a new building to better serve the Archdiocese, enhance the surrounding urban fabric, and allow for the removal of the UFO.

As the lady said:

"They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot"

PekletMom said...

Speaking as an RK alum, parking is desperately needed as has been since I was there! I'm sure the Cathedral could use the additional parking as well, since in the past few times I've been to an event at the Cathedral, we've had to park several blocks away. The apartments, though they've been there for as long as I can remember, don't seem to be a necessity, unless tenants will be required to move... I can't imagine those apartments are so populated that a lot of people would be put out if the building was torn down. Though I could be wrong. However, if it's for architectural preservation - I'm with you Timman, I don't see it.

Anonymous said...

All it is, is a giant concrete box with a elevator/stair tower thing-a-majig at one end. No aesthetic beauty. Destroy it. You keep things that are signifigant, beautiful, and sacred. You destroy broken and ugly things when they are taking up space or not fulfilling their purpose anymore. Liberty Bell is broken, but significant so keep it. My broken cereal bowl is not significant so toss it. This building is ugly and out lived its purpose, toss it.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the Catholic Center building!

Dust I Am said...

Your photo of the San Luis building shows it is an ordinary rectangular block of stonework with about ten evenly spaced, horizontal rows of windows.

Is this the 'beautiful' architectural design that should be preserved?

Anonymous said...

I agree with tearing down the creepy angel thing. It always reminds me of this really bad episode of Star Trek.

Anonymous said...

This building is not worth saving. Perhaps the Archdiocese should line up this part of Lindell with statues of the Bishops of St. Louis. Perhaps, also, there should be some kind of fountain.

Anonymous said...


The archdiocese could easily solve the problem with that awful Angel of Harmony statue -- send it over to Belleville! That was one of Bishop Braxton's projects while he was here.

Latinmassgirl said...

I feel certain this ugly building is not attractive to ANYBODY who has the remotest hint of eyesight, and a hint of taste.

The fight to preserve this is elitism, just as the ridiculous ultra modern "sculptures" at the St. Louis Art museum are.

One of my young sons pointed out a few years ago as we gazed incredulously at a "sculpture" consisting of a huge amount of broken glass, fixed on a board on the ground, "That's a mess, they should clean it up and throw it away!"

Sometimes, as in the Emperor's New Clothes, it takes a child to point out the obvious truth.

Anonymous said...

If the building is owned by the Archdiocese, and the Archdiocese wants to tear it down, then there should be no question. This hardly is an historic building - not that such an issue should prevent an owner from disposing of his rightfully-owned property as he sees fit.

Anonymous said...

From what I have heard, the main motivation is not beauty or merely making more parking space, though it is needed. The fact is that the building is old and needs to come down. It was just a quick concrete and steel building...and well, they don't make them like they used to.