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Saint Louis University (SLU) to Raze Historic Building to Construct Fake Historic Building

May 24, 2007 History/Preservation, Midtown, Planning & Design, SLU 38 Comments

Saint Louis University has announced plans to renovate and expand the law school building.

Saint Louis University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J., has announced that a fundraising initiative to expand and renovate the School of Law is beginning. The initiative will fund the construction of a new classroom building and large-scale renovation of the current facilities. The University’s Board of Trustees gave its approval to start fundraising for the project at its May meeting.

How much fundraising? How about $35 million? I can see why SLU needed $8 million in public tax incentives to build their new arena, it would make fundraising just that much harder. The only other thing standing in the way are two old buildings along Lindell Blvd.


Demolition of this older building with a newer facade (1940s?) is being razed despite being a viable structure. I guess it is part of the Jesuit tradition to be wasteful with resources?


This former mansion will also meet the wrecking ball. This part of St. Louis once had many fine homes but over the years they’ve pretty much all been razed. This one had been used by the university for some years.


This beautiful home will not be razed, just surrounded by the new building. Here in St. Louis we have a long standing tradition of saving only the best structures (aka Landmarks) and destroying every bit of context around it. The home in the background and shown in the prior picture, on most streets, would be one of the finest buildings and considered safe from demolition. Sitting next door to this more elaborate home, it is considered disposible.

This is a really long block and the separate buildings help create a nice rhythm. The new building will destroy this wonderful rhythm of structures. It will also attempt to give a false sense of history by the use of gothic architecture:

The project will completely reconfigure the appearance and functioning of the current law school facility. Special features will include a new state-of-the-art classroom building, a stately courtroom, a grand commons, a modernized legal information center and an exterior facade in the classic Gothic style.

Below is SLU’s artist rendering of the final results.

Some may look at the above sketch and think it is an improvement over the current law school, below:


I’d be hard pressed to convincingly argue this beige box is architecturally better than the thin veneer of gothic that will be applied to it like wall paint from Bella & Birch. In 2007 are these our only architectural choices? I’m guessing someone did a study showing that universities like SLU and nearby Washington University can east-coast old school tuition if the campus buildings look like old school east-coast campuses.

The stunning old historic mansion will be surrounded by nothing but pretent gothic. Classic…


Currently there are "38 comments" on this Article:

  1. At least the beige box architecturally was a product of its own time period. The newer buildings are simply trying to replicate the past, thus showing a lacking of innovation. Do architects lack the capacity to create anew, or are they subject to the decision makers?

  2. The mansion slated for demolition is an excellent example of the Italianate style, doomed only by its location and the university’s philistine ways. This house and its neighbor are the last remnants of the high-end residential character of Lindell Boulevard, where such large homes were built from the 1870s through the early 1890s. The growing use of the automobile and the rise of large commercial buildings in Midtown made Lindell a less desirable address after 1900, and many of the homes fell to the wrecking ball. Can we not have two survivors to remind us of the context?

  3. Jim Zavist says:

    It’s all about the almighty dollar – when it comes to fund-raising, it’s easier to promise a major donor that his/her/their name will be on a brand new building, not on one that’s “just” been renovated (and may already have a name). Sidenote – when the University of Denver built their new law school (looks similar, with parking underneath http://www.law.du.edu/index.htm ), they actually evicted a fraternity and tore down their frat house.

  4. Ben H says:

    turrets, gables, and gothic arches are little icons that automatically call to mind tradition and wealth, a kind of ringing of the Pavlovian bell. Thats espescially true for the trustees of a big university, who tend to be conservative in the old-established-comfortable way, they dig that stuff.
    Like most significant buildings, this is the result of an architect client relationship. Rare indeed is the situation where an architect is willingly given carte blanche. Most usually, they are expected to engage the clients needs and wants. From an architects perspective, a good situation is when the client is clear about their needs and resources but is open and encouraging about the design. A bad situation would be the client dictating some faux historical style, or worse still, being unhappy with anything not in some particular style but unable to articulate that style (cant we put some of that one kind of archy windows over here). But thats just a single perspective, architects are a varied bunch; a few only do work that they maintain control over, some just want to give clients what they already want, most are somewhere in between. The talent of architects varies a lot.
    incidentally, last summer Wash U did something similar, tearing down one of the original pink granite buildings, Prince Hall (19th century faux gothic), to build a new faux gothic student center.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Thanks for the reminder, I had managed to forget about WashU’s even worse stunt last year.]

  5. maurice says:

    I’m sure the law students would disagree with you.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Don’t be so sure!]

  6. Adam says:

    and the opinions of the out-of-city law students don’t matter anyway.

  7. Matt says:

    Once again, SLU sells it’s history and soul. This is just another example of SLU ignoring what is/was great about the neighborhood: it’s diverse, mix use buildings. SLU somehow thinks high density is a bad thing. While the law school does need more room, the University continually does not think of the impact the design of its buildings will have on the neighborhood, i.e. the Doisey Research building, which does not embrace the street; the numerous parking garages.

    As a student at SLU, I hear so much about going out into the city and Midtown to help people, how the University is committed to Midtown. However, I continually question if the University ever takes into account its lack of concern for good urban design and how its slash and burn policy truly affects Midtown. At least this time it isn’t another parking lot. SLU might promote Biondi as the architect of SLU, but I question how good of one he is and what will be the lasting implications of building his kingdom will be.

  8. Maurice says:

    Well, I like the new proposed design.

  9. LisaS says:

    This seems to be a continuation of SLU’s attempt to completely isolate the interior of its campus from the “outside”.

    Whether that’s a positive development or not, I can’t say. I’m not very excited about what I see in that rendering.

  10. john says:

    Where’s the moat?

  11. 63101 says:

    Ben H wrote:

    “incidentally, last summer Wash U did something similar, tearing down one of the original pink granite buildings, Prince Hall (19th century faux gothic), to build a new faux gothic student center.”

    If you had ever seen that structure or been inside it, rather than joining the throngs of building-huggers who rose to action just because it was built in 1900, you’d not be complaining. It was constructed with three internal segments that were separated from each other by load-bearing walls. You could enter the west door to the building, only to find that the room you were looking for was in fact only accessible by the north or east door. The university attempted to repurpose this building many times over the last half century and nothing could stick. None of the other original campus buildings were designed in a similar fashion.

    Some buildings are just plain impractical and have had their time. This was one of them. It was the only building among the originals that I would ever say was OK to be torn down, because it was simply just that bad.

    I’ll applaud when the awful attempt at modernism known as Eliot Hall, the political science building, finally goes down as planned, too. Its identical twin building went away 8 years ago and this one should have gone away with it then. I remember recalling someone else provide a better description of these buildings than I could ever give: that stairs and hallways in these two buildings appeared to be complete bolted-on afterthoughts, as if the architect put together this grand modernist vision and then realized later on that people actually have to USE this building rather than marvel at unfinished concrete.

    This SLU building looks pretty nice, frankly. I sure would wish the plan would involve not taking that mansion, but I’m not shedding any tears for the other completely bland building it’ll be replacing.

    On a side note, Steve, aren’t you pursuing a master’s degree at SLU? Given you’ve made a lot of fairly negative posts about the place (this, TIF for the arena, student newspaper, etc), you seem to have some serious issues with the place, but you sure must be paying them a lot of money in the form of tuition.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — I can’t comment on the issues you raise about the interior of the old WashU building, maybe it ‘had’ to come down?  But to replace it with a new building attempting to look as if it were old is what is offensive.  Equally offensive are the modern buildings that try too hard to be a statement about form first and a place for people second.  The middle ground between the extemes, however, is huge and largely unexplored.  

    Regardless of the aesthetic they wrap around the current and new law school, they are changing the massing which wil have an impact on how the street feels as you pass by in a car or on foot.  The pattern of building to open will be altered and not for the better in my view.  No amount of faux gothic will fix that.  Personally, I’d like to see SLU  think about building up rather than out.  The campus has a lot of 2-3 story buildings that when rebuilt should become 4-6 floors.  The one thing we know about land is they are not making any more of it!

    And yes, I am paying SLU a huge sum of money which they are using for purposes I disagree.  Aside from moving to a different region, I have little choice if I want this degree.   My only real choice is to be quiet or speak up so I speak up.]

  12. maurice says:

    “And yes, I am paying SLU a huge sum of money which they are using for purposes I disagree.”

    I’m sure part of that is the salaries of the professors and support staff as well. Tuition is not cheap for a quality education.

    You do have options, and one of those is not to enter the program and if that means moving, that is what one does. Many students of all ages do that. Staying put is yoru choice as well. Not all students like SLU nor is that expected.

    Part of the Jesuit mission is to gain knowledge for 1) the greater glory fo God…so that we may be aware of all of his works and what man’s part in that is and 2) to be of service to others.

    You do a lot of service to others in pointing out issues that many of us would not have given a second thought too. In time, you will fine tune that service and transform it into action. But not everything is bad in the city.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Uh duh, of course my personal tuition is not funding the arena or expansion of the law school.  But high tuition is not an automatic guarantee of a quality education.  

    I report on the bad things in the region, get used to it.   I explain my reasons for why these things are bad and give others the chance to counter why they disagree. Hopefully they will provide more valid reasons than lame responses like “I like it.”  That would be like me putting up a drawing of the law school and simply saying, “I don’t like it.”]

  13. steveo says:

    The irony is that people lamented the demolition of Prince Hall – which was in itself a building that was built to look old. University gothic did not originate in 1900 St. Louis. Prince Hall was an imitation of an earlier time – as will be the new student center. I don’t see the problem – other than people like things 100 years old.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — LOL, excellent point!  Part of my problem is how disposible buildings have become, older buildings were built much stronger than our new ones.  Also, the proportions and massing of buildings 100 years ago seemed so much more pleasant relative to today’s buildings.  But you are so correct on the question of style!]

  14. 63101 says:

    Steve wrote:

    Part of my problem is how disposible buildings have become, older buildings were built much stronger than our new ones. Also, the proportions and massing of buildings 100 years ago seemed so much more pleasant relative to today’s buildings. But you are so correct on the question of style!

    Being a WU alumnus and not SLU, I can’t speak to SLU’s construction practices, but from having watched quite a few academic buildings go up at WU during my time there, they appear to be designed and constructed to be anything but disposable.

    To cite an example: Their tune on a building’s purpose and lifetime appears to have changed pitch a bit now as this new student center includes underground parking, but I remember hearing back in 2000 one of their planners say that they didn’t want parking under future buildings because they’re designing them for a lifetime of more than just a couple decades into the future, and on that kind of timescale automobiles are destined to be marginalized.

    And I think that from that standpoint, a building that stands for 100 years before it’s deemed to be impractical to keep it around isn’t really that “disposable.”

    But going back to the main topic, I certainly cannot pass the “made to look old, ergo bad design judgment on this law school building. Yes, this style evokes mental images of the University of Cambridge circa 1300. But I’ve visited Cambridge and I’ve visited SLU, and I’m smart enough to know the difference.

    I would like to have seen two things, though. First, keep that mansion; that it’s still well maintained suggests that unlike Prince Hall becoming increasingly useless for WU, it’s still useful to SLU. Second. a design that better tied with Lindell and the outward-facing edge of campus. I know someone who was mugged on a weekday afternoon right in front of the law school. If there were more people around going about their business, that probably wouldn’t have happened.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — With WU and SLU both razing buildings only around 100 years in age that means they viewed those as disposible.  These are/were quality buildings being discarded.  This is a waste of materials and energy.  WU no doubt is using high quality materials and is certainly building to a higher standard than say THF Realty in Arnold. 

    I take the opposite view from the planner you spoke to about parking under buildings.  Yes, cars may well be “marginalized” in 100 years but probably not in my lifetime.  And even if parking is provided under current buildings and then cars are marginalized later that space can be used for other purposes without razing the building.  Underground parking does not make a building obsolete. 

    Excellent point on knowing the difference between SLU and Cambridge!] 

  15. maurice says:

    I do like it because it blends well with the current campus and is well layed out. It will finish off that part of the campus. The law school is a valuable asset to the University, not that that gives them a pass, but there comes a time when some buildings regardless of whether it is age, use, or location, simply outlive their usefullness.

    And all these brick buildings? They might be more stable in tornados and such, but earthquakes???

    [UrbanReviewSTL — I’m not sure why I bother but here it goes…  What about it “blends” well with the current campus?  What exactly is “well layed out?  What part of the campus is unfinished?  OK, so buildings outlive their usefulness?  Alright, but is demolition the only answer or is finding another use or reconfiguring not option?  When does the public space enclosed by the surrounding buildings become more important the buildings themselves?]

  16. maurice says:

    sometimes demolition is the only answer. It isn’t pretty nor agreeable, but yes, sometimes a building is obsolete for the purpose that is needed now, not 50 years ago. And yes, sometimes it is financially feasable to destroy and rebuild rather than remodel. We all would love to see great old structures saved, but…..

    As far as public space….it really technically isn’t “public” The University is private property and they can do what they want with their property (within codes). Now the property within is open space for the student’s to use.

  17. Adam says:

    i seriously doubt that demolition is the only option here. that mansion looks to be in near-perfect condition. why couldn’t they have added another floor to the wing directly behind the stone mansion (which, it seems from the rendering, would put it at the same height as the wing to the left of the mansion) for example. build up instead of over historic structures. i’m sure this is a case of “it’s cheaper to do it this way and we won’t have to pay for upkeep of this beautiful historic mansion.”

  18. Ben H says:

    I don’t know, maybe you’ve seen something else, but this grainy elevation rendering is way too little to judge it as “well laid out”. Perhaps it will be not bad. Having only seen this one image of the new SLU building, Ill reserve specific comments on its design. I would parallel it with similar buildings at WashU campus, unfair as that may be. Having spent considerable time in both the old and new buildings, I would say with one exception, the new buildings look nice enough from afar. But stop and look intently, the details are clumsy and over big, the intersections of materials look forced, there are large caulk joints in unexpected places (gothic expansion joints). Its like a really heavy duty 2D stage set, a solid and functinonal building wrapped in all the elements applied to evoke the mental images. Are we really so dependant on that stuff just to feel good about a building, a campus? When the old buildings were built in the early 20th c., general building methods were somewhat similar to the actual gothic period. Of course, theyve changed radically since. The effort and expense required to replicate old forms in modern building techniques is considerable. I find it dishonest and superficial to go on replicating the forms of before. I cant argue against demolishing an old building for a truly better use, but replacing it with imitation is disappointing.
    Besides that, its boring. Blends in, yeah that’s about right. That’s what you do in high school when the bully is after you, dont stick out too much. Why not engage contemporary design that has some relevance with today’s culture?
    (old Mudd-Eliot Hall was a bad building. Im talking about functional well liked modern architecture. Its out here, kind of rare in STL though).

  19. Jim Zavist says:

    Unfortunately, converting residential properties to non-residential uses is harder than it looks. The floor loads that one needs to design for in “assembly” type uses are double what they are in “residential” uses. Lecture halls and classrooms are typically bigger than most living rooms, and definitely bigger than most other rooms, even in these McMansions. And, with bearing-wall construction, it’s hard to change the configuration of the existing spaces. That said, saving the existing structures is not impossible – they can serve well for faculty offices, breakout and seminar rooms, computer/study alcoves, and can even accomodate the toilet rooms needed to serve the larger classrooms. The trick comes in integrating the larger spaces, likely on the backs of the existing structures, and creating a coherent circulation path inside. The other (huge!) trick is integrating an addition of this size onto a group of smaller and individually-different structures. It boils down to will – it’s harder, takes more work, requires more compromises and takes more design skill, but it can happen. One example is how the Denver Public Library expanded their main branch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denver_Public_Library, http://www.flickr.com/photos/cpchen/) – Michael Graves started with a post-WW II stucture and increased the total area four-fold. But it took a commitment, both financially and politically, to make it happen. Bottom line, it’s possible at SLU, but I certainly wouldn’t hold my breath . . . .

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Rather than razing the buildings or finding ways to integrate them why not just build upwards?  Once you’ve got elevators in place you might as well go up — this means less foundation and less total roof area.  Smaller departments can use the existing buildings for offices and share classroom spaces in other buildings as we already do.]  

  20. MauriceI says:

    So help me here….it is OK to save a building for it’ pretty outside, but then gut the inside and reconfigure walls and such? How is that saving the building (and the originial intent of the structure).

    There is a lot of talk here and elsewhere about saving a building because of it’s pretty outside, but how many of us have gone inside a home or building and seen remodeling gone bad???

    Making bathrooms and such????oh joy. not a good plan for saving the building.

    But in typing this…something along the lines of making it an annex for a law library might work…that way the original work on the inside stays mostly intact.

    If you are going to save your skin, you better save your body as well.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Your previous comment combined with this comment shows a common lack of understanding about buildings vs. public space.  Public space, or the public rhelm, is far more important than individual buildings (in general).  Buildings on private property help define the public space — that public right of way which typically contains a street and sidewalks (although not always).  Building a 3-story structure on or near the line between the public right of way and private land conveys a much different experience to the public than does large parking lots and Wal-Marts or the like.  In both cases the legal width of the public right of way might be the same — say 100ft — but the perception of the space as experience on foot on a sidewalk is vastly different.  It is not just about how “pretty” the exterior is or isn’t — that can be very subjective. 

    Let’s give you three choices for walking a quarter of a mile — a reasonable walking distance.  In all three cases the public right of way is 120ft wide with private property on either side. The weather is the same, generally pleasant in terms of wind, humidity and temperature. Choice ‘A’ resembles Manchester Road near 141 — nothing between the sidewalk and the passing cars except for a possible narrow strip of grass.  The private property on both sides contain large tree-less parking lots and a couple hundred feet behind the minivans is a one-story cinder block building containing a chain store.  You can’t really tell much about it from the public sidewalk except for reading the big backlit sign.  You can only tell if they are open by the number of cars out front.  You do not cross a public street in this 1/4 mile walk but you do cross many auto entrances.  Choice ‘B’ is the same width of publicly owned right of way, 120ft, with blank warehouse walls on both sides — each set back about 30ft from the change from public to private land.  The blocks and the buildings are quite long — several hundred feet each.  There is no relief from the blank walls, loading docks and building entrances face other portions of the private property.   Choice ‘C’ for your walk is a grand urban boulevard.  Private buildings on both sides are at least five stories high and the lower levels contain numerous shops — each with large windows.  Doorways to shops and uppper floors are frequent.  Large shade trees and parked cars separate you, the pedestrian, from other cars passing by on the street.  But it is winter and the decidious trees have no leaves but again it is a pleasant day.  Buildings are generally narrow and touching each other or close together and blocks are short so you will frequenly be crossing other public streets.  Given these three choices which would you choose for a 1/4 mile walk and why.  Furthermore, would these offer the exact same experience or would these be vastly different?

    How we build on private land impacts our experience in the public rhelm!]

  21. Jim Zavist says:

    I don’t get the “build up” response – do you think adding to top of the “beige box” is the best answer? Or building on top of (one of) the mansions they plan to tear down? Yes, the rhythm of the public realm is, for the most part, created by private structures, but adding a multi-story addition to any of these would have as great, if not greater, impact as doing what they’re planning now. The public realm is a 3-D environment, it’s not just setbacks. Lindell Blvd “feels” a lot different in the blocks just east of Forest Park, with its multi-story residential proprties, than it does closer to SLU, where the structures are shorter, but have similar horizontal setbacks.

    And if your premise that the architecture is secondary to the general bulk and the rhythm of the structures that make up a neighborhood (“Public space, or the public rhelm, is far more important than individual buildings [in general].”), I would think that you’d be more supportive of the current concept staying close to current heights, if not setbacks, and accenting the “signature” historic structure, than in dropping a ±20-story structure, of any architectural style, on one of the currently-vacant parcels.

    Final, purely practical point – multi-story classroom structures simply don’t work well – it’s hard to move large numbers of students between classes on elevators or escalators – wide hallways, stairs and ramps work a lot better, which pretty much limits you to two or, at most three stories (but you can put faculty offices, individual labs and the like above that).

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Part of the law school current exists further back from the street — behind the really elaborate mansion.  A higher building, not even close to 20 floors, could accommodate their space needs.  They already have elevator banks in the buildings, why not have six floors rather than three? We all know how to step back buildings from the street at the heights increase.  True, I don’t want to have a class on the first floor and then one on the sixth floor.  Of course the same situation exists when you are on one end of a really long building adn need to go to the opposite end, somestimes vertical would be faster and easier.  Remember we are not dealing with tons of underclassmen here — this is a law school.  Libraries and things can be stacked above offices which are stacked above classrooms.

    As a pedestrian, I’d rather walk next to a taller building for a short distance than a shorter building for a much greater distance.   Have you looked across the street from SLU — nothing but tall buildings.  Also, SLU doesn’t really have any vacant parcels — they are razing to create more land.  How will other departments on the campus expand?   SLU does have a large vacant parcel at the NE corner of Laclede and Vandaventer — they should build a new law school there.  Other departments in need of space can take over the existing mansions and the current law school.  Urban campuses often build upwards as they seldom have alternatives — their locations are not condusive to sprawling suburban style campuses.

    I’m still curious how SLU can afford the new law school, the arena could not be built “if not but for” the $8 million TIF.]

  22. Nathan says:

    I think SLU is attempting to make it’s buildings match the design of DuBourg, Cupples House and the original School of Commerce and Finance. I have no problem with that. The building with the 40’s facade isn’t at all visually appealing. That mansion is hardly grand. Moreover, Lindell is no longer a single unit residential street. Times change.

    As a SLU grad AND a current SLU student, I’m okay with it.

    As far as isolating campus from the rest of the city…I’m torn. Part of me wants it to be ‘open’, but having been mugged three times, having my car broken into four times, and my on campus apartment broken into once, part of me would be fine with a moat.

  23. Nathan says:


    I just talked to a member of the class of 2007. She says that the current building isn’t functional at all. Apparently the library is a nightmare when it comes to ADA access (the letter of the law is followed, but it’s hardly convenient) and students have had to give up a commons/lunch area for use as a locker room.

    Don’t be so sure, indeed…..

  24. steveo says:

    “UrbanReviewSTL — With WU and SLU both razing buildings only around 100 years in age that means they viewed those as disposible. These are/were quality buildings being discarded. This is a waste of materials and energy.”

    This shows a lack of understanding the changes in higher education since 1900. Universities have changed. Just because a building could remain standing for another 100 years, doesn’t make it a waste to demo. I would say that viewed as a business (one component of being a top university), WU has been amazingly successful. Are you saying that WU doesn’t know enough to serve its own purposes in the best way? I’d bet that while achieving their strategic vision (whatever that happens to be) they have been very efficient in their use of materials and energy. We should never forget that our built environment is the result of our vision/desires – to save buildings in spite of this is to have the tail wag the dog. I loved Prince Hall and felt some nostalgia when it was taken down, but WU will be more attractive, more effective place because of it.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Just because a building does not meet current needs does not mean the entire structure must be razed.  All over this city 19th and early 20th century buildings are adapted for modern uses daily.  Often the physical structure of these buildings is excellent — they are in sound condition and in the case of WashU and SLU old campus buildings are quite well built.]

  25. ? says:

    If you look at the new business school you will notice spaces where they never completed the stone work. You will see recessed rectangles with the bottoms of the bricks showing. I hope that they at least finish the “stone work” on that building before they start a new one.

  26. DeBaliviere says:

    While I’m not happy about losing the mansion, this will be a substantial and much-needed upgrade for the law school. Personally, I like the design and think it will complement the Cook School of Business next door quite nicely.

  27. Armchair Urban Design says:

    All of this speculation about whether or not SLU is right in razing the mansion is a moot point. Does Steve have access to the plans for the building or the needs of the law school, its staff, faculty, and students? Does he know anything of the constraints of this project or how it fits in any larger development plan for the University or the Law School?

    I don’t think you do, Steve. Therefore, you do not have the full picture and are arguing from only one tangent: historic preservation. There are so many other considerations other than “preserving context.” It is one small part of the development game and it does not, by itself, trump all other elements of a project. This is not to discount the importance of preserving our particular architectural history but to point out that it is not the beginning and end of every development project.

    As far as preserving context, that is a ridiculous notion now, the only way to get a sense of the context of these buildings is in archived photographs.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — Actually, I’m not arguing from the historic preservation tangent at all.  Other?  Yes.  But not me.  I’m arguing from a waste of a good buliding just as I think the building next door to the mansion that is now gone was attractive but certainly not historic.  I was discussing the form and rhythm these established.  I was also discussing the issue of dressing up the current bland law school in a new gothic suit.  One does not need to see the full program for the law school to discuss topics of building rhythm along a public street nor discuss the topic of architectural style.

    But you have an interesting perspective on development.  It seems you think the only people qualified to comment on projects are those with full and complete access to the full project, including the plans.  Of course, it would be a huge conflict of interest for those with full access to offer a critical viewpoint, so basically what you are advocating is a complete lack of discussion in this city about what we raze and what we build — even though these decisions have an impact on our public rights of way.]

  28. Armchair Urban Design says:

    Don’t put words in my mouth, Steve. I am encouraging discussion. Discussion informed by as much information influencing a project and all the constraints and needs of stakeholders. A discussion of mass/space rhythms along a street are fine and good but not inclusive of other concerns, trivial things, like financing and administrative, faculty, and student needs. The relationship between private real estate and public space is an important aspect of development but it isn’t the only piece. Although all of your discussions center around that point only. A more engaging and innovative discussion would follow if people were informed by all the pertinent influences on a project and hopefully more creative solutions could be agreed upon rather than one-sided, narrow-minded discussions that focus only on one aspect whether it is urban design, financing, or architectural honesty.

  29. Adam says:

    then i guess all we need is for biondi to come clean with all the details and motivations for this project, right?i’m sure that will happen.

  30. Jim Zavist says:

    Design is complex. Infill design is even more complex. Design is about balancing, at times, competing demands, including the budget, the program, aesthetics, style, building codes, accessibility requirements, zoning, politics (at several levels), and egos of all sizes. The more you know, the more you can understand many of the decisions were made. There will always be people who will disagree, at times vehemently, with one or more of the choices made on any project. But it all ultimately boils down to the golden rule – he who has the gold, rules (as long as it’s not illegal) . . .

  31. lily says:

    I don’t understand how you can call the current structure “viable.” It is completely not functional and I agree that the existing structure needs to be razed and they need to start over.

  32. Ryan says:

    Personally, I really like the new building plans. However, I am a current law student, so I may be a bit biased. Likewise, I am also a SLU MBA and the business building is simply amazing. If SLU Law can do something similiar iw will do nothing but help the law school and in the long term help midtown. Also, Law Student opinions DO MATTER, even if we are out of town. We chose this school because of it reputation and quality of education. Both are going down due to the current building. Since I am paying 150,000 in total education expences to attend SLU Law, then I most certanitly have a right to voice my opinion. Perhaps even more so than the ones who are not spending any money and just want to complain about losing an old building that does not look that great or historically importnat anyway. Never stand in the way of progress, that should be the motto here.

    [UrbanReviewSTL — And for the record, I too am spending a big chunk of money on education at SLU.  But as I have indicated, their construction affects the public right of way along Lindell so really everyone has a right to voice an opinion.  What happens inside the buidling is a private matter.  

    Since you are a law student I will cross examine you, please explain for the court how this will help midtown in the long term?  Also, can you define “progress?”] 

  33. Billiken says:

    As a current SLU student, I have to say that the current Law School building is so outdated in terms of layout and functionality that a new building would be a Godsend to the program. The hallways are so narrow, it is worse than being in high school or jr. high. Every break period, traffic jams form in almost every nook and cranny and students are literally forced to walk shoulder to shoulder. Also, as stated by a previous poster, you cannot travel from one side of the building to the other. It is as if 5 different buildings were combined into one monstrosity.
    I personally like the new design as it does reflect the John Cook School of Business, Samuel Cummins House, and DuBerg Hall. Combined with Gries (the tall 16 story building) and Busch (the student center east of Grand), SLU is creating a very modern yet student oriented campus. Also, I absolutely love Chaifetz Arena and think that HSSU and the very eastern edge of SLU could build up that corridor of Compton into a more sports oriented section. In particular, that would be a perfect location for an updated baseball/softball complex and the rumored Ice Arena that I haven’t heard about in a while.
    I speak for many on SLU’s campus when I say that we would like to see some buildings either greatly renovated or torn down and new buildings built in there place. Specifically, most students including myself find Fusz Hall to be not only outdated in terms of construction, living conditions, and visual appeal that many students dread living there. The rooms are small and cramped, even for a college dorm, and the “food court” on the first floor has not been updated since the 1980’s. It is simply an outdated building not being utilized to its fullest extent and seen as a run down section of campus. Reinert Hall, located on the island between Forest Park Parkway and Hwy 40 next to Grand is also another example of a run down dormitory that SLU should either completely renovate or tear down to make room for a more modern student center/living space. Also, due to the University instituting a new rule that all incoming freshman and sophomores must live on campus, the University is running out of housing space. Therefore new University owned housing needs to be built on campus. I’m rambling on, but I will just say that needed housing + empty lot at the corner of Grand and Lindell = great solution.

  34. bomble says:

    Photos — y u unavailable?????

  35. bomble says:

    Photos — y u unavailable?????

  36. My Flickr account got deleted.

  37. subhash nair says:

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