Paul Rudolph, Hiss House (Umbrella House), 1953, photograph © Ezra Stoller.
The love of modern architecture, and the desire to preserve it, is kind of a recent thing here in St. Louis. Which is odd, considering this city produced Charles Eames, and that its most iconic landmark was designed by Eero Saarinen. And in fact, significant buildings are still being razed (including Isadore Shank's Limberg house, which was demolished just a few weeks ago). But the attitude toward Modernism is swiftly changing, as evidenced by the outcry against the demo of the Del Taco building on Grand, and the formation of groups like Modern STL.
Another clue to these changing attitudes is the popularity of the Sheldon Art Galleries' Midcentury Modern Architecture tour, which is now in its third year (and is a nice complement to Landmarks Associations' Preservation Week, which happens around the same time). This year, the tour is scheduled for Sunday, June 3, and makes stops in Warson Woods, Town & Country and Ladue for viewings of homes designed by St. Louis architects William Adair Bernoudy and Isadore Shank, as well as Paul Rudolph (who is the subject of a current exhibit at the galleries, Made in the Shade: Paul Rudolph's Florida Houses Revisited). Architect Andy Raimist, who's something of an expert on Modernist architecture in St. Louis, will give a pre-tour talk at noon in the Bernoudy Gallery of Architecture to kick off the tour.
The Sheldon Arts Galleries are located at 3648 Washington; tour buses leave at 1, 1:30, 2, and 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. $15 for students (available through the Sheldon's website or MetroTix) and must be purchased in advance; reservations are limited. "Cornerstone," tickets, which include a private champagne bus tour at 4 p.m. and an afterparty at the Bernoudy House, are $250; call The Sheldon at 314-533-9900 or email Lauren Wilhite at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.