Behind the Lens: About our Website Photograph

Our new website went live in September last year, so you might be interested in the story behind the eight banner photos that have been rotating at the top of the homepage. They document our recent history and they illustrate some of the many activities that make us both a typical and a unique CSI chapter.

The ball pit photo was taken at our chapter party during CONSTRUCT 2015, CSI’s national convention held in St. Louis that year. We “owned” City Museum for five hours, and hosted some 450 of our closest CSI friends from around the country (including the Southwest Missouri Chapter members shown in the photo) to a night of “Mirth, Mystery, and Mayhem.” Bryn Owens, the talented wife of former Greater St. Louis Chapter member Aaron Owens, took this photo along with hundreds of others from the party, including the sunset view of City Museum’s outdoor play area. The Owens’s have moved to Indianapolis, but we appreciate Bryn and Aaron and all they did for us while they were here.

The Tiffany glass “Allegorical Window” at St. Louis’s Union Station depicts three women representing New York, St. Louis, and San Francisco. At its heyday, Union Station was the world’s largest and busiest railroad terminal. We toured the building and captured this image during our chapter’s bus tour of historic St. Louis architecture in March 2013. Union Station was completed in 1894, extensively renovated, and converted into a hotel and shopping area in the mid 1980’s. Our September 2015 chapter meeting was a tour of the station and a review of its most recent renovations and improvements.

Our Program Committee tries to include at least one tour of a notable building or construction project each year. The cast iron front of Raeder Place in Laclede’s Landing was taken during the 2013 architecture tour. Laclede’s Landing historic district features dining and nightlife venues in restored and renovated warehouses dating from the mid to late Nineteenth Century. Architect Frederich Raeder designed this six-story building for the Christian Peper Tobacco Factory in 1874, and it remains today as one of the finest examples of Victorian Italianate cast iron architecture in our city.

Another highlight program for our chapter happened when we toured the St. Louis Art Museum’s newest addition in October 2014. As delightful as the new addition and modern collection is, Cass Gilbert’s original building from the 1904 World’s Fair remains the star of the show. The north entrance, facing Art Hill, has the more famous entablature, “Dedicated to Art, Free to All,” but it’s the south façade that resonates more in troubled times: “Art Still Has Truth, Take Refuge There.”

The detail view of the Climatron at Missouri Botanical Garden seems contemporary contrasted with the historical architecture of some of the other banner photos. It’s hard to imagine that this prototypical Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome is in its sixth decade as a St. Louis landmark. Over the last decade, we’ve partnered with the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Gateway Chapter, headquartered at the garden, to provide educational programs on sustainable building topics to the St. Louis construction community.

Another portrait of modernism in St. Louis is the reflective glass of the Equitable Building, an elegant glass box office structure dating from the 1960’s. The view we display on our website banner catches contrasting styles: the concrete brutalism of the Gateway Tower and the timeless beauty of our favorite stainless steel monument, the Gateway Arch, celebrating fifty years since it’s completion in 2015. Our chapter toured the recently renovated Arch Grounds in May 2017.

Of course, although we try to get out at least once a year to tour projects of interest in our community, most of what we do as a chapter involves monthly meetings and other indoor events. The last photo in our scrolling banner is a shot of the annual New Product Show, traditionally an April event featuring innovative products from many of the member manufacturers who support our efforts. There’s no charge to attend the show, and lunch is on us.

Get a sense of the diversity of our monthly programs and our other chapter activities by visiting the Photo Gallery, linked to our homepage. We’ll keep you up to date on the website, on Twitter (@stlouiscsi), and on Facebook, with announcements of our upcoming events. The 2017-2018 programs schedule will be available soon, including our Holiday Gala in December and our Awards Banquet in June. And we’re about to announce a region-wide CSI event in St. Louis, to be held in May 2019. Stay tuned.

If you have suggestions for programs, let us know, and join us for a fun and informative time at the Greater St. Louis Chapter of CSI. Maybe you will star in one of our upcoming Photo Galleries, or contribute some pictures of your own. It’s been fun adding photographs to our chapter’s website over the past year, and I hope you’ve enjoyed viewing them as much I have enjoyed taking them.

George A. Everding, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, AIA, has been behind the camera for several of the photos appearing on our website. He encourages you to submit your favorite photos of our chapter events, our city, and other CSI-related activities.

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