Monday, February 11, 2008
More Wash U Med/BJC demolitions
As I mentioned in the last post, the Washington University Medical Center has introduced an master plan for the next ten years that calls for over a dozen demolitions. Below are some photos of some of the buildings marked for removal as well as explanations given in Board Bill 443.
Just north of the Barnes south tower is a cluster of fairly benign buildings that will be removed for "replacement bed spaces", diagnostic, and support areas. Replacement beds?... Hmmm, what are they replacing? According to the plan, the Jewish Hospital Building at Kingshighway & Forest Park will be demolished near the end of the 10 year period.
Nothing is listed in the plan to replace this building. So are we to expect an empty green space at this prime corner? Such a solution is viewed by SLU as an excellent use of a corner in several locations. Maybe BJC is taking some pointers from father Biondi?
South of the Jewish Hospital Building, across Parkview Place, the Shoenberg School of Nursing Building is shown to be demolished on the attachment map, but is not specifically mentioned in the text. I would guess that this could be to make way for future expansion of Children's Hospital, which surrounds the building to the east and south.
On Forest Park, just east of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, what is now called the Shoenberg Research Building is shown to be demolished for an expansion of the large North Garage just to the east. The buildings original use is inscribed in stone "Shoenberg Nurses Residence" over the entrance.
At the corner of Forest Park and Euclid the Ettrick Building is also shown to be demolished. Besides the CID and Shriners Buildings listed as possible demolitions, this building is probably the most archticturally significant building scheduled for removal in the plan. The plan states that the Ettrick is to be replaced with a new building to house expanded resident clinic facilities, of approximately 200,000 square feet and structured for vertical expansion.
I will admit that I have mixed opinions about this one. On one side, there is the the fact that the Ettrick is a very attractive building and reflects the scale and feel of the Central West End. On the flip side, there is the awkwardness of its floor levels. Built as an apartment building with its basement raised halfway out of the ground, retail spaces we later added at this lower level and creating an awkward moat to access the spaces. The low headroom in these basement spaces and the moat and stairs taking the majority of the sidewalk space is a bit of a clusterf***. The urbanist in me really likes the idea of a new larger building with attractive functional retail spaces and a real streetscape along Euclid.
East of Taylor, the plan shows that the various institutions of the Med Center have been on a buying binge over the last decade, purchasing of over a dozen properties. Each property is listed with an address, building name, and acreage. The fact that acreage is specified show that they consider the purchases mainly for the potential of new development on vacant land, even if there is a building present.
This unadorned building at 4500 Parkview Place is listed as potentially being re-skinned and expanded... or demolished.
Further east at 4340 Duncan Avenue, the former Crescent Electric Building is planned to be demolished to create a development pad for the Cortex area. The idea this large flexible industrial building could be adapted for re-use (as it has been before) seems to be beyond the cognitive mentality of planners for the area. For more information about this building, see this post from Ecology of Absence.
In 2006, Magee's bar at Taylor and Clayton Avenues was purchased and demolished (Google caught the scene in mid-demolition) with seemingly no plan for re-use of the property. Apparently bars are not seen as conducive neighbors by the WUMC. You can see a few shots of Magee's that I found by fellow Flickrites here, and a nice detail shot showing the cast iron and a classic striped awning here.
One block east, another great corner building, the last gasp of urbanism at the intersection of Newstead and Clayton was purchased in 2004 and demolished. Anyone out there have a photo of this one?
One positive item gleaned from the plan is a statement in the last paragraph of text describing the plan: "The Washington University Medical Center anticipates future development of properties fronting Forest Park Parkway and/or located north of Forest Park Parkway to incorporate retail and mixed uses, so as to further integrate these properties into the urban environment of the Central West End."