Best Roof

Ethical Society of St. Louis

It would be easy to get into a car accident driving along Clayton Road just west of the Galleria if you weren't prepared for the sight of the Ethical Society and its shocking roof. The top of the building slopes gradually up to a central spire, which then shoots violently heavenward, tapering to a long point that looks as sharp as a Concorde's nose. The blue-green metal tower looks a bit like a bedsheet draped over a, um, pole. Entendres aside, this dramatic feat of engineering is an obvious symbol of the Ethical Society's all-embracing quest to rise above earthly pettiness and aim for lofty ideals. Inside, the main sanctuary is lined with a fascinating array of wooden beams that hold the thing up. You can experience a kind of reverse-vertigo from staring up into it for too long. The pointed roof is reminiscent of the ridiculously upturned beak canopy for the old Trader Vic's downtown. Both are as needlessly erect as can be.
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