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Mansion House – Gentry’s Landing

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Update: Visited in March 2016 revealed considerable deterioration of concrete elements throughout the complex.

Perhaps the most overlooked development in downtown St. Louis is the Gentry’s Landing, Mansion House and Radisson Hotel complex on 4th Street downtown. It’s not surprising, as the complex is just about as cut off from the street as possible.

I wish I knew more about the buildings, which sit along the east side of the street, creating an archetypal “superblock” so common in the 1960’s.

There is in fact some street level retail, but it is filled with a crumby record store and a standard Chinese restaurant/carry-out.

Below is the rather cool entry roof for Mansion House.

Here is a shot below of the shopping arcade along 4th Street.

I love this staircase that leads up to the terrace of the complex: a classic example of form following function, as they say. The use of reinforced concrete makes the staircase seem to float above the sidewalk.

When one reaches the top of the stairs, a garden spreads out around the three towers. The covered walkway continues the motif of the staircase.

What is fascinating about the covered walkway is its almost Oriental feel.

Below is a great view of the balconies stretching up the side of the towers.

One of several pavilions that sit on top of the complex; this one was perhaps a restaurant, but now is abandoned and stuffed with chairs.

Maintenance is definitely deferred at this large complex, and I particularly loved this stained mattress propped up against the wall.

The street along the east side of the complex is so depressing, and anti-urban that I was left speechless.

Here is another picture of the abandoned streetscape.

Here is a shot of the strangest building in the complex; a weird almost art-deco building sitting right on the street, and apparently empty.

Here is a shot of an small garden, ignored by everybody.

Back up on top, it is remarkably quiet, and deserted.

The views of the arch, framed by the trees and towers, is impressive.

The southern end of the plaza is just as deserted, even though it is so close to the Adams Mark. It is dominated by the second pavilion, which has a funky, 1960’s feel to it that I really like. Of course it is abandoned.

These gates are so wrongly matched with the modernist building, it is not even funny.

I don’t know what I think of this complex; it is such a detriment to Downtown, but standing by itself, it is a remarkable architectural ensemble, rarely seen or explored by St. Louisans.

4 Comments

  1. I have always liked the towers of the complex and while some of the details of the lower portions are interesting, the super block it creates and the raised plazas are a death sentence to the area. I wish everything except the towers and the Peabody building could be bulldozed and re-built with the original streets put back in place. Obviously parking is a large portion of the base, but this could be handled block by block with street facing retail ringing the ground level.

  2. I’m not familiar with the Peabody building; is that the one that looks out of place along Memorial Drive?

  3. I wouldn’t say it’s rarely visited or noticed by St. Louisans as Paul Leisure did a car bomb hit in Mansion Houses’ garage. The target was actually a city employee, related to a member who was in a union. There is a lot of history even in our uglier or poorly designed buildings.

  4. Hi Chris,It me again, LOLI actually used to work in the lower office buildings about 30 years ago. I worked for an ad firm and they needed temp space so some divisions were moved in these buildings. It was when the Riverfront was hopping and we had some very good lunches down there.Because it was free we would park down by the river and walk up the hill. We then moved back to our main office at One Memorial Drive. I also know the story of the car bomb well. Not because I was there when it happend but other reasons. So far, Chris you are hitting all the places I remember well and have a history. Very interesting site and you never fail to interest me. Thanks!

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