Update: Demolished as planned in July of 2022.
You might have heard in the news about the expansion planned by the St. Louis Symphony, which will add new wings out the east and south of the original building built as the St. Louis Theater. Not mentioned is the demolition of the Culver House, which I have featured before as the Stephen Allen Bemis House, back in August of last year. I had wondered why the Portfolio Gallery had moved out, and I found out why. I can tell you from having visited the former gallery that the house was in excellent condition, and not some firetrap.
So what is my opinion? Steve Smith, the developer, architect and owner of the Lawrence Group, has stepped forward and offered land nearby for the house if someone comes up with the money to move it there. It’s been done recently in St. Louis with one of the houses in the footprint of the Defense Mapping Agency. Someone with deep pockets needs to step up, or it will almost certainly be demolished. It’s pretty simple, so if you know someone, let the powers-that-be know you’d like to help finance the move.
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The symphony needs to make room in their budget to move this house to the new location. Do they really want to be known as the people who doomed another St. Louis architectural treasure? I’ve seen the plans for the edition and it is very uninspired. I understand the need for additional space for rehearsal and new dressing rooms and such but does the design have to be so boring? The reasoning for constructing a new lobby are hazy at best and the design for the south façade addition looks like the entrance to a convention center in Bismarck, N. Dakota. The addition completely ignores the original building and is awkwardly positioned. Isn’t the existing lobby magnificent enough? I fear they may restrict public access to the the original lobby during performances. They really need to do better if they are going to get enough funding from wealthy donors and resolve the obvious issue sitting right behind them in plain sight.
I’ll admit I just looked at the Bismarck Convention Center in Google Streetview after reading your comment.