One thing I love about going to a conference is the opportunity to explore a new city. St Louis is called the Gateway City, not because of its giant catenary arch on the banks of the Mississippi, but because it used to be where you started from, back in the day when people said things like “go west young man.”  It was a good place to buy everything you needed to stock up your wagon train, and by 1900 it boasted the busiest railway station in the world with 42 platforms lined up under a single roof span.  Union Station is now a conference venue and host to this year’s BiLT North America, where the future of BIM and digital construction was hotly debated.

I had just one day to tour the city, so after a quick stroll around the base of Eero Saarinen’s famous arch, I headed inland to check out Wainwright Building.  Designed by Chicago architect, Louis Sullivan in 1890, this was a seminal building in the development of the modern skyscraper.  I was struck by the contrast between the bold,…

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