Author’s note: This article contains architectural terminology. For clarity, a brief glossary of terms can be found at the end.

Erupting above the tree line of Forest Park in the historic city of St. Louis is something remarkable and beautiful—a skyscraper of a new kind—One Hundred Above the Park. Thirty-six stories of shimmering glass and aluminum, the new residential tower sticks out from the architectural morass of the Central West End neighborhood like a spaceship in an impound lot. It’s not just a flashy oddity, though: One Hundred has something to teach us about the history of skyscraper design, the future of apartment design, and the philosophy behind great new architecture.

The building, designed by Studio Gang and completed in 2021, has stunning views of the city and world-class amenities, but what makes it revolutionary is its canted (outward leaning) glass facade design.

Most apartment blocks consist of identical floor plates stacked vertically upon one another, but the floors of One Hundred get larger as they go up, and then every fourth floor shrinks back to expose an open rooftop balcony. The result is a building that branches and bursts from itself like the blooms of a stalk flower. It is striking in photos and mind-bending from the sidewalk. More important, though, are the ways this simple design idea improves tenants’ quality of life and creates one of the most individualistic apartment complexes in the world.

Interestingly, this is not the first time that St. Louis has been home to a design breakthrough in architectural facades. . . .

With every major artistic and technological feature, One Hundred Above the Park is a building that does not cower and compromise but, rather, reaches for new heights.
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