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

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…