Before & After, Harris Armstrong- architect, Historic St. Louis Homes

Noguchi Ceiling From 1940s Uncovered

Noguchi Ceiling From 1940s Is Uncovered at U-Haul in St. Louis

According to circuit court documents from the ’90s, it seems that the original windows are still under the tan metal paneling that now covers the building. I think it is such a shame to hide such a beauty under sad metal panels. Not only this, but the internal architecture from Noguchi is also hidden… until now.

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From the New York Times,

“An undulating lobby ceiling that Isamu Noguchi sculpted in the 1940s has emerged at a U-Haul branch in St. Louis, two decades after it was hidden by partitions and dropped ceiling panels. Noguchi designed the feature, known as a lunar landscape, for the building’s original owner, the American Stove Company. Its amoeba-shape channels, originally meant to conceal light bulbs, were recently unveiled.”

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“Stephen Langford, the president of the U-Haul Company of St. Louis, said he ended up slathered in dust as he helped uncover the artwork. “It’s something that needed to be shown,” he said, adding that the Noguchi surface needed only minor repairs.

Last fall its fate became something of a local cause célèbre. A plaster model of its contours, which had belonged to the building’s innovative modernist architect, Harris Armstrong, went on display in the St. Louis Art Museum’s exhibition “St. Louis Modern.” News coverage including a radio program alerted the public that the actual artwork survived unseen at the U-Haul facility, and calls for its preservation arose on social media.

David Conradsen, the museum’s decorative arts and design curator, who worked with the show’s co-curator, Genevieve Cortinovis, said experts over the years had contemplated removing the sculpture to transfer it to the museum, but had concluded that “it would be basically destroyed in removal.”

Dakin Hart, the senior curator of the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, Queens, described the ceiling as a “hugely important” and early example of the artist creating an “all-encompassing artistic environment.” Mr. Hart added, “I can’t wait to see it.”

Mr. Langford said that people are now “more than welcome to walk in” to view the work overhead.”

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I also found this article on The Architects Newspaper about the building that details everything further.