Saturday, February 28, 2015
Ten Years Ago This Month: The Crime of The Century
As this bitter cold and snowy February draws to a close I was reminded a few times that the last of Century Building fell ten years ago this month. In early February 2005, I was sitting in the small conference room of Pyramid Companies offices on the 6th floor of the Frisco Building when conversation was suddenly interrupted by a gigantic crash followed by a few screams. I knew it could only be one thing. Like a giant game of Jenga, the last remains of the Century Building had fallen. We went running out of the room into the open office where everyone by now was crowded at the windows staring into the giant cloud of dust that had engulfed Olive Street. The photo above is from October 2004 as demolition began.
Late December 2004... a holiday season to forget.
Veins of grey and white Georgia marble revealed the beauty that had been covered with layers of paint. The facades of the Century were entirely clad with solid blocks marble.
A view of the destruction from the top of the Paul Brown Building, which at the same time was being transformed by Pyramid into loft apartments.
Near the end in early February 2005. More demolition and pre-demolition photos can be found here on Built St. Louis.
Craig Heller had proposed a compromise that would save the Century and provide almost 700 parking spaces in the basement and lower floors of the Century and adjoining Syndicate Trust, but the powers that be would have nothing to do with this great idea.
Ten years later the upper half of the Garage Mahal that went up in place of the Century sits mostly empty on a daily basis.
Shortly before the construction fence went up around the Paul Brown to start the renovation, someone scrawled this on a dusty storefront window. It remains to be seen whether the demolition of the Century in 2004-2005 will continue to hod the title of the greatest crime against architecture in this century.