July 13, 2009

the arch

I grew up just outside St. Louis, and even though I haven’t been back in years I love what they’ve done with the Busch Stadium grass for the All Star game.

Busch Stadium and the St. Louis Arch

The combo of Busch Stadium and the Arch reminds me of the great series of photographs that Joel Meyerowitz made of St. Louis. Here’s one of them that lived in our house (as a poster reproduction) for years…

!Arch View Cafeteria by Joel Meyerowitz

Here’s Meyerowitz on the Arch

Every city has a celebrated monument that sets it apart; a tower or cathedral, a square or park. St. Louis has the Arch. I found it deeply moving, profound. There were days when, standing beneath the Arch, I felt I knew the power of the pyramids. It was restorative, contemplative. It was more than a technological marvel or a symbol. It was pure form, the beauty of mathematics, a drawing on the heavens, perfect pitch. It was constant and it was never the same. Light and color made their way over its surface. I have seen the Arch change from a white you could not look at to black in broad daylight. I have seen it disappear, reflect like a mirror, and turn pink, sometimes all in one day. I remember mountains doing that. Standing beside it, one sees human scale diminish as when a figure stands at the ocean’s edge. It contains the space that cathedrals aspire to. You feel it most when you submit to it.

And the Arch View Cafeteria? I think it was part of the Title Guaranty building, which was razed in 1983. Here’s a streetview of the location today.