Two Downtown Office Building Lobbies


Many of the old buildings in downtown St. Louis still possess their original lobbies, some of which are breathtaking. Below is the lobby of the Paul Brown Building, recently restored as condominiums. The stucco work is fantastic in this building, and more importantly, the lobby is lined with shop spaces–in direct contradiction to Modernist buildings with their barren fortress like first stories.

This is the lobby of the Security Building, around the corner on 4th Street. It features a large dome nestled between the two wings of the building.

The lobby features amazing details, drawing from classical architecture but featuring a late Victorian Period exuberance.

Here is a detail of one of the caryatids that line the base of the dome.

Other buildings, such as the Union Trust and Arcade buildings feature beautiful lobbies. The Arcade is now being renovated into luxury condominiums. I can’t wait to see the shopping arcade restored to its former glory.

Update: The Arcade-Wright’s rehabilitation was completed in September 2015.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. dan dunsford says:

    good afternoon chris, I was wondering if the scale work on the dome was originally stained glass that had been painted over. It looks like a small copy of a dome in a building in Chicago, which was outfitted in tiffany glass. I think the building in Chicago is still standing and had a major renovation but I can’t remember the name of it. Would you know?

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Dan, you’re thinking of one of my favorite buildings in Chicago, the Cultural Center! It postdates the dome in the Security Building, but such scale patterns are a common motif borrowed from Neoclassical/Beaux-Arts architecture:

  2. dan dunsford says:

    Good afternoon Chris, thank you for the info. I remember seeing that building on channel 9 not to long ago, it really is gorgeous. I remember this lobby (st. Louis) from 1986, I worked across the street at caf de france. I thought this lobby was also beautiful but altered by paint, what do you think? I love reading your articles.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      Dan, according to the National Register nomination form, it seems like the dome was once all glass, and that yes, much of it was painted over. It would have looked more like the skylight in the Chicago Cultural Center originally.

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