Council Plaza and Grand Center Part 3: The Apartment Towers

Out in the middle of the open, right on Highway 40 but largely forgotten by just about everyone in town, I became fascinated with the two large apartment buildings of the Teamsters’ Plaza development, designed by Schwarz and Van Hoefen. The shorter, Grand View Apartments, facing east-west, and the taller Council Tower, which faces north-south. As can be seen in the historic photo above, shortly after their completion, they were two of the first developments built in the Mill Creek Valley, along withe accompanying Del Taco building and office and shopping center built at the base of the Grand View Apartments.

What makes this complex more than just your normal apartment building complex is the funky art that adorns the buildings. Take the large, abstract medallion hanging on both ends of the Grand View Apartments.

Or the stylized, abstract lines of the fountain out front; at first I thought it was damaged, and then I realized it was the artist’s composition. I like it nonetheless, and the effort the builders took to enliven the complex.

The glass enclosed lobby, separating the ground from the second floor, is a perfect example of Modernist architects using technology to show off. The walls become superfluous, and the steel piers hold up the building above.

Council Tower, still one of the tallest residential structures in the whole metropolitan area, also featured two large brick walls on its east and west sides. The brick murals, truly unique to St. Louis, are still vivid in my memory from being a child in the 1980’s.

The west brick mural is gone for good replaced by a surprisingly nice white wall, but the east side is slated for restoration, so I’ve heard. I will cover the slow dismantlement of that side later this week.

The rest of the grounds around the towers are in rough shape, including this gazebo or pavilion-like structure, which is not original, apparently.

The grounds between the towers were largely vacant the day I was there, no doubt because of the intense heat that had settled over the city. It is a pleasant spot, decorated with oddly incongruous classical revival cement sculptures.

I know the complex is under renovation, but this has to be one of the ugliest parts of the whole development, where someone at sometime cinder-blocked up the entrance to the parking garage in as brutal a manner as possible.

I actually covered the complex years ago on this site, and it’s interesting to go back and read what I wrote back then. Read the historic nomination form here.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Allen Cutler says:

    I love the art on those buildings.

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