Why can’t corporations build beautiful buildings anymore? Why is it such an affront to the bottom line? I can guarantee one of the main reasons Anheuser-Busch is still such an iconic name in St. Louis is the beauty of its brewery. They just don’t build it like this anymore, which is a shame.
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I’ve often wondered how many other major, massive-scale factories are built as ornate and beautiful as this. It’s almost as if they had gone out of their way to make it look the way it does. This can’t be anomaly, is there anything like it elsewhere?
My travels here in the STL and elsewhere suggest that the aesthetic appeal of a company’s manufacturing and warehousing facilities were of great importance to industry, up until the 1920’s or so. They were seen as advertisement, and may have suggested a kind of permanence which is not only out of fashion today, but which would likely be seen as an extravagant waste of “shareholder value”.
So, yes, perhaps industrial buildings were not quite as ornate as breweries, but care was indeed taken in their design and construction.
Cool related new post on Distilled History:
I really love how the breweries here took regional materials–sandstone, limestone, Missouri red granite, brick, terra cotta–and incorporated them into their stock, in sometimes generous proportions.