Louis Sullivan's Wainwright Building has long occupied a central place in the history of modern architecture. In The Wainwright Building: Monument of St. Louis's Lager Landscape, Paula Lupkin reexamines the canonical “first skyscraper” as a different type of monument: the symbolic center of St. Louis's “lager landscape.” Viewed through the lenses of patronage and local history, this ten-story structure emerges as the white-collar hub of one of the city's most important cultural and economic forces: brewing. Home to the city's brewery architects and contractors, a brewing consortium, and related real estate and insurance companies, the building, as Ellis Wainwright conceived it, served as the downtown headquarters of the brewing industry. Echoing the brewery stock house as well as cold storage structures and ornamented with motifs of lager's most expensive ingredient, hops, the building's design incorporated both the natural and technological elements of brewing. Analyzing the Wainwright Building as part of a lager landscape adds new dimension and significance to Sullivan's masterpiece.

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