Author Topic: [Google] 82-year-old German House is under reconstruction - St. Louis Post-Dispatch  (Read 1958 times)

Offline News Thetan

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82-year-old German House is under reconstruction - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
10 September 2010, 1:06 am
By Tim Bryant

By spring, restoration should be complete on the ornate auditorium of the German House, the 82-year-old Lafayette Square landmark where the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra recorded in the 1950s.

The four-story brick and terra cotta building, at 2345 Lafayette Avenue, has been vacant most of this decade. Opened in 1928 as a German cultural center called Das Deutsche Haus, the building later carried the St. Louis House name and was home to two Christian schools before it was boarded up and seemingly forgotten.

The Church of Scientology, which paid $1.9 million for the building in 2007, is reviving it. After a year of planning, work began this summer to restore the building's main auditorium, a smaller side auditorium and the entrance facing Lafayette.

The main auditorium's marble wainscoting and terrazzo lobby floor will be freed from layers of paint or dirt and returned to their original gleam.

Seth Mayer, project manager of Anderson Building Co., which is overseeing the work, said gilded pilasters and intricate plaster work on the walls, balcony and over the stage also will be restored.

Still shining in sunlight are west-facing leaded-glass windows depicting the faces of German composers. The stained-glass skylight in the foyer needs only minor repairs. Original Egyptian-style lighting pendants also survived. They will be removed from storage, cleaned and rehung.

The exterior needs some tuckpointing, repair of terra cotta ornamentation and a good cleaning, Mayer said.

"Structurally, the building is in fantastic condition," he said.

After thieves took copper gutters and downspouts, water leaked through the roof last year and ruined much of the auditorium's maple floor, which must be replaced. Mayer said the original 'sleeper" floor system of lightweight concrete and wood supports beneath the maple also will be replaced.

The specially built floor and 28-foot coffered ceiling contributed to the excellent acoustics that led the St. Louis Symphony to use the auditorium as a recording studio in the mid-1950s. During the same era, "minor league" opera companies also performed there, church and Anderson Building officials said.

The restoration will cost $940,000, plus about $100,000 to deal with lead paint.

Chad Lane, the church's executive director in St. Louis, said the nearly 65,000-square-foot building is the ideal size for expansion in the metro area.

"It was quite a search we did," he said. "We have very specific requirements on the square footage and such."

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« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 16:36 by mefree »
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Offline ethercat

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Linda Skinner, president of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee, said the project will eliminate a neighborhood eyesore. She added that she approves of the church's decision to allow outside groups and individuals to use the auditorium for weddings, meetings and other events.

To allow?  Using this facility for non-scientology events will not be free, just another means for profit-making.
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