Ethical Society -- entry hall
The paired concrete columns take on a massive and heavy form when initially entering the building. The surrounding pools of water tend to lighten and fracture the sense of solidity, giving the building a kind of floating atmosphere. The colored glass walls surrounding the main entry hall reinforce the feeling of lightness and wonder.
The tartan grid of concrete beams, however, is everything that the glass walls and reflecting pools are not: massive, heavy, and permanent. A feeling of tremendous weight above and sense of enclosure are a primary impressions upon entering. These characteristics tend to contrast sharply with the lightness of the exterior and the soaring nature of the auditorium.
project: Ethical Society
architect: Harris Armstrong
location: 9001 Clayton Road, Ladue, Missouri
condition: good condition, somewhat modified
For more on Armstrong's life and work, see architectural ruminations.
Photograph courtesy of the Harris Armstrong Archives, Special Collections, Washington University in Saint Louis.