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  • Absurd Mansard in Sunset Hills

    Posted on December 12th, 2007 Toby Weiss 10 comments
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    Intersection of Gravois & South Lindbergh
    Sunset Hills, MO
    In the late 1960s through to the 1970s, suburban apartment architecture went crazy with a bastard form of the mansard roof. I lived in just such an apartment complex, so was ultra sensitive to their unseemly popularity. At this website, the author even refers to it as “revenge of the Mansard.”

    So the building shown above really really grinds my teeth. It is nothing but mansard!

    As seen from the rear, this was once a normal building. Built in 1960, it was originally a full-service gas station. Today it is a pool supply company. Not sure when it was decided that pulling the roof down to the pavement was a cool idea, but someone bears the karmic scars of this aesthetic assault.

    Or maybe they just had a sly sense of humor, and erected an asphalt shingle monument to…

    Cousin Itt. Seriously, don’t the two share a striking resemblance?

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    10 Responses to “Absurd Mansard in Sunset Hills”


      The ‘cousin itt’ of architecture — I love the analogy. Given the context for this Mansard laden building, it really fits right in.

    2. Revenge of the Mansard! Coming to a street corner near you….God forbid!

      You have to admit though, it’s definitely unique. Just think of all the money that they save on paint! On the other hand, I wonder how much it costs to re-roof their walls? 🙂

    3. A friend sent me to your site today… Great parallel to Cousin It! I grew up in that area and quite dislike ‘there’ and that particular building, as well as other mixed styles from that barren era of design. This structure has always reminded me of ‘Donald Dumb’ from the Fat Albert crew. That was the kid who wore a hat over most of his face (yet his eyes somehow had ski-mask like holes to peer out from).

    4. Aesthetically Apalled

      It looks like the building has a bad case of ‘hat hair’. It could be worse though, such as being a Mansard building covered with vinyl siding like a couple of apartment complexes in South County have had done to them.

    5. I’m not sure I hate it; it’s so over-the-top (and middle and bottom) as to be kind of amusing. Is there such a thing as architectural satire?
      Oh, by the way…I’ll see your mansard and raise you two.

    6. I love it!it’s so perverse it’s subversive!

    7. According to my great-uncle, this building was a service station until the 60’s. It was owned by Harry Houtel, who is related to the Houtel family that owns Sunset Ford across the street. Harry had the building “modernized” and then rented it to some man who opened a fried chicken restaurant in it. The man abandoned the restaurant, leaving the freezers full of chicken, and one rather nasty clean up for Papin Real Estate, who managed it for Harry. My uncle, Dan Beckerle, then operated a carpet business in the space from 1972 until the mid-80’s, when they moved across the street to the ski-chalet building.

    8. absolutely love it! You know the theory of the decorated shed by robert venturi.

    9. That roof must have been starving!

    10. Nice post. Will visit again. Cheers

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