The International Style in St. Louis Commercial Architecture

The Century Electric Building at 18th and Chestnut streets, designed by L.B. Pendleton and William B. Ittner Inc. (1947). Today the building stands completely unrecognizable.

The Century Electric Building at 18th and Chestnut streets, designed by L.B. Pendleton and William B. Ittner Inc. (1947). Today the building stands completely unrecognizable.

Last month Modern STL’s Vice President Michael R. Allen, also the director of the Preservation Research Office and a Washington University adjunct faculty member, published a comprehensive article on the history of the International style in St. Louis commercial architecture, for our partner organization DOCOMOMO US. Developed by European pioneers like Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe, the International style influenced thousands of American buildings, from high-style office towers down to small retail buildings and gas stations. St. Louis, it turns out, embraced the style more than is commonly assumed. You can read the entire article, which covers buildings ranging from Harris Armstrong’s Shanley Building (1937) in Clayton through Edward Larrabee Barnes’ 1010 Market Street (1981) in downtown St. Louis, here.

Modern STL Seeking Website Assistance

Modern STL needs to revamp its WordPress-based website. We invite proposals to assist with this task, and promise that we will compensate anyone who can help us bring the site into a new age. Please contact Board President Neil Chace at if you have interest and availability.

Harris Armstrong’s Graham Residence For Sale

Andrew Raimist photograph.

Andrew Raimist photograph.

The house that Harris Armstrong designed for Dr. & Mrs. Evarts Graham in Jamestown Acres is offered for sale. Completed in 1941, the dwelling employs red brick and limestone to strike an amazing harmony with its natural setting near the Missouri River. The asking price is $449,000. More information can be found on the blog Architectural Ruminations here.

Modernism Reborn: Happy Hour at Rooster on South Grand Next Thursday


When: Thursday, May 21 at 5:30 PM
Where: Rooster, 3150 S. Grand
Cost: Free, cash bar

With the Missouri General Assembly set to adjourn peacefully, it is time to take a look at what historic tax credits can do for a mid-century modern building. We’ll gather at the South Grand location of popular restaurant Rooster, which once was the Hamiltonian Federal Savings and Loan Association. The International style building dates to 1961 and comes from the drawing board of the firm Winkler & Thompson, which had never produced a modernist building before this curious gem.

Rooster owner Dave Bailey will speak about the building — what drew him to it and how the process of renovation proceeded. Michael Allen of the Preservation Research Office will also speak on the building’s history and what was needed to get it listed in the National Register of Historic Places (it had been excluded from the neighborhood historic district based on age and style).

Come toast the power of transforming modern buildings and the successful use of historic tax credits for the recent past!

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