Clayton, Developments, Harris Armstrong- architect, Mid-century St. Louis, Midcentury Modern

The Shanley Building to be Demolished

Longtime businessman Fred Kummer has acquired a half-block of Clayton real estate with plans to redevelop it into a $270 million mixed-use project of luxury condominiums and a high-end hotel.

The site, which Gershman Commercial Real Estate marketed last year, borders Central, Maryland and Bemiston avenues and includes a slew of restaurants such as Nami Ramen, Vincent Van Doughnut, BARcelona Tapas and John P. Fields., tax assessment firm PAR Residential and AKS Law Firm, as well as the Clayton license office – also known as the Shanley building. The Shanley building has always been one of the most important buildings in St. Louis County, and it is such a shame that nothing can be done to save it. Read the full article here.

Shanley Building History
Harris Armstrong designed this office building which was commissioned by the orthodontist Dr. Leo M. Shanley. The Shanley building was the first expression of the International style in this part of the country. Its design won Armstrong a silver medal at the Paris Exposition of 1937, and it is still a building admired by many architects. Dr. Shanley had been impressed by the modern house displayed at the Century of Progress Exhibition in Chicago in 1933. While he didn’t want to live in such a structure, he saw its functional potential and commissioned Armstrong to design his working space. Inspired by the designs of Le Corbusier and Neutra, Armstrong created a building designed specifically to cope with the problems of the orthodontist. He designed the furniture, lamps, hardware, light fixtures, and fire tools as well as the structure itself. The building is characteristic of the International Style, with its undecorated use of projecting and receding cubical masses and its concrete and glass block. The building was renovated and somewhat altered recently, after it passed from the ownership of Dr. Shanley’s son, also an orthodontist. It is listed on the National Register and has received many other honors, but is endangered by the development of downtown Clayton.

This dentist’s office building is one of the earliest Modernist buildings in the St. Louis area. Finished in stuccoed concrete, it strives to achieve a purity of forms — absolute, unblemished geometric shapes, overlapping and intertwining.

Shanley Building history from Clayton History Society