Shirts and Posters Commemorating Saarinen’s Arch Are Here!

You’ve been waiting, and we’re happy to announce that our latest Icons of St. Louis Modernism designs are in. Designed by All Along Press, these commemorative graphic tees and hand-printed posters pay tribute to Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in honor of its 50th birthday next year. Get yours while you can and be the first on your block to celebrate this special moment in our region’s (and let’s face it, the nation’s) architectural history!

These, as well as our other designs featuring Lambert Terminal, Midtown’s Saucer, Priory Chapel, Lewis & Clark Library, and the work of Ralph Fournier, are available online through Etsy. We’ll also be selling them at the Annual Meeting, so you won’t have any excuse not to wear your STL MCM pride.

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Save the Date: 2014 Annual Meeting in Arrowhead Estates 

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Photo credit: Hutchinson Photography

Date: Friday, September 12th
Time: 6-9pm
Location: 14 Arrowhead Estates Court, Chesterfield MO 63017
Cost: FREE, members only

Mark your calendar for Modern STL’s Annual Meeting on September 12th!  This year we’re combining our usual business with a very special house party at the residence designed by Ralph Fournier for developer Burton Duenke in Chesterfield’s Arrowhead Estates.

By the mid 1950′s, St. Louis County had seen the successful development of hundreds of new homes designed by Fournier and built by Duenke’s home building company. Their collaborations, including the Ridgewood, Craig Woods, Harwood Hills, Sugar Creek Ranch and Sunswept subdivisions, set the standard for modern residential design in suburban St. Louis. But if there were a crowning jewel among all of these Fournier creations, it is certainly the home he designed for Duenke himself.

Completed in 1955, the former Duenke residence sits atop a bluff above the Missouri River in Chesterfield. Nestled into old growth forest, the expansive home makes excellent use of its site through natural materials and forms as well as large expanses of glass. This is Fournier at his best.

     
Photo Credit: Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty

The house is currently on the market after being lovingly preserved by its present owners for the past twenty years. These excellent stewards are only the third family to call it home, and it remains largely unchanged with nearly all of its original fixtures and finishes intact.

This unique event is not one to be missed! We will take a few minutes to recap Modern STL’s accomplishments from the past year and vote on next year’s board of directors. Apart from that, you can enjoy complementary drinks and snacks along with, of course, the house itself. This is a members only event, though plus-ones are always welcome.

If you need to renew your membership you may do so at the door, and if you know someone interested in becoming a member, please bring them along!

 

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Lewis and Clark’s Stained Glass Windows Must Be Salvaged

As our ongoing efforts to save the Lewis and Clark Branch Library have stalled in the face of St. Louis County Library’s repeated refusals to consider alternatives to demolition, Modern STL is – albeit grimly – turning its attentions towards preserving the building’s incredible stained glass windows. Internationally recognized artist Robert Harmon, whose work for Emil Frei & Associates graces dozens of modern churches throughout our region, wove these vibrant glass panels into the curtain wall wrapping around the library’s main and side facades. They are unparalleled in subject and execution, presenting patrons with the figures of explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark with Sacagawea, their Shoshone guide, joined by geometric patterns, swimming fish, and a leaping buffalo.

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St. Louis County Library’s leadership has publicly expressed its intention to reinstall Harmon’s work in the new branch building, set to open sometime next year. The Board of Trustees’ September 2013 meeting minutes state that, “Regarding Lewis and Clark, … We plan to save the stained glass windows and incorporate them into the new building in a prominent location” (see the full minutes here). Library Director Kristen Sorth was quoted in an otherwise unfavorable March 20th Post-Dispatch editorial as stating that “the windows will be preserved ‘and prominently displayed’ in the new library branch.”

While promising, no details about this plan have been released. Modern STL’s primary concerns are that the windows are de-installed and reinstalled properly, by experts, and that they are relocated in total, not in part. To that end, Board President Neil Chace and Board Vice President Michael Allen sent the following letter to Director Sorth; while we’ve had no response, with your support Modern STL plans to do all we can to ensure that some part of Lewis and Clark survives.

Please email both Lynn Beckwith, Jr., President of SLCL’s Board of Trustees (boardpresident@slcl.org), and Kristen Sorth, SLCL Director (ksorth@slcl.org), to tell them to publicly guarantee that all of Lewis and Clark’s stained glass will be preserved. Whether reinstalled in the new library branch or given to a more appreciative steward, this glass must be saved, and we need to hold SLCL’s leaders to their word!

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©2014 Modern STL | PO Box 21714 | St. Louis MO 63109
 

Optimism Threatened, But Hopeful

On May 1st nextSTL reported on Covington Realty Partners’ proposal for a 14-story apartment tower to replace Schwarz & Van Hoefen’s 1962 landmark Optimist International Building at 4494 Lindell Boulevard in the Central West End (read about it here). We’ve since learned, however, that the Central West End Development Committee’s recommendations against granting tax abatement for the project have caused the developer to walk away, meaning that the Optimist Club’s graceful New Formalist colonnades may be around for years to come. This tentative stay of execution for yet another of Lindell’s modern gems is particularly important in light of 2009′s demolition of the San Luis Apartments (1963) across the street and the impending demolition of Society for Crippled Children Building to the east (1948).

Photographer and Modern STL volunteer Krystal Maurer prepared the following photo essay to document the Optimist Club’s elegant design. Here’s hoping that the building’s next suitor will appreciate it for its beauty and reuse potential rather than as a tear down for replacement.

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Krystal Maurer is an elementary school teacher and aspiring photographer. She is passionate about mid-century modern design and architecture and enjoys photographing both. She lives in St. Louis with her mini schnauzer, Pepper.

 

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