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Ten Buildings That Changed America: The Wainwright In Downtown St. Louis

April 4, 2013 Downtown, Featured, History/Preservation, Media 5 Comments

PBS (WTTW/Chicago) has a new special coming out next month called the Ten Buildings That Changed America. One of the ten is our own 1891 Wainwright Building by Louis Sullivan (National Register nomination). I got to meet host Geoffrey Bear last May when he and the production crew were in St. Louis.

PBS film crew on May 8, 2012
PBS film crew filming the Wainwright in downtown St. Louis on May 8, 2012
Geoffrey Baer
Ten Buildings host & writer Geoffrey Baer, right, will be back in St. Louis on April 22nd for a panel discussion, see below

Here are the details on the free event being held at the Wainwright:

Our local PBS station is hosting a free event to preview the program.
Click image to register — seating is limited.

If you’re not familiar with Sullivan’s Wainwright you might be wondering just how a building in St. Louis changed America, well here’s your answer:

At only nine stories, the Wainwright is the granddaddy of all skyscrapers. It isn’t the first tall building but Sullivan’s innovative structural steel frame showed that even brick can appear to soar. (stltoday.com)

Yes, skyscraper!

— Steve Patterson



Currently there are "5 comments" on this Article:

  1. Scott Jones says:

    It’s a great building and the other buildings the added to it are well-designed and appropriate.

  2. Eric says:

    The Wainwright: towering 6’7” high, clad in bright red, and worth spending $97 million on.

  3. GMichaud says:

    The Wainwright building is a masterpiece by Sullivan, unfortunately there was a building by Issac Taylor adjacent to it that was also superb, but demolished to build the generic state office building next door. This indiscriminate demolition hurt the Wainwright building and many other less significant buildings in St Louis. In fact the lack of continuity in the urban fabric is probably one of the most serious problems St. Louis faces. It impacts transit, walkability and the heart of the very desirability of the city to natives and outsiders. As I have said elsewhere I think it is a big reason stores like UniGlo and Ikea avoid St. Louis. Poor urban planning is the cause, and a perfect example is the lost urban context surrounding the Wainwright building.

    And Eric as for as 97 million dollars, wherever that number came from (and probably included the demolition of the Issac Taylor Building and building the new state office building) but the upshot is, what should we do as a culture? Maybe buy a few more bombs to kill people?

    • RyleyinSTL says:

      Your right. A quick walk around the perimeter, of the amazing Wainwright building, is a master class in lost urban context. It really is too bad that downtown, as a whole, has lost that continuity.

      As for bombs…its only patriotic to buy them if we use credit 😉

  4. guest says:

    How ironic the film crew is standing in front of Gateway One! Hilarious!!! Do they know the irony???


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