December 20, 2019

Metropolis Magazine Covers Transformation at Wash U

Washington University in St. Louis unveiled a renewed East Campus in 2019. It strengthens academic connections, enhances campus green space and circulation, and improves parking and accessibility for the university at large. ©James Ewing/OTTO

Metropolis recently featured our work at Washington University in St. Louis to transform the East End of campus, bringing a unified, contemporary identity, creating a welcoming gateway to the university, and restoring the original intentions for a park-like setting. The story highlights our response to the existing Olmsted-designed campus, including the early 20th Century neogothic work of Cope & Stewardson and two 2005 buildings by Fumihiko Maki—modern limestone structures—that influenced our additions.  
Our work here included five elements: the new Weil Hall for the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts; Sumers Welcome Center and Schnuck Pavilion, which form a pair of glass pavilions that frame the towers of Brookings Hall beyond; the renovation and expansion of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum; and below-grade parking to replace surface lots with new green spaces in keeping with early aspirations for a campus composed of “outdoor rooms.” 

The two-story Kuehner Family Court in the new art and architecture building features a living green wall, skylights, and glass walls that allow for visual connectivity between studio spaces. ©James Ewing/OTTO

Writer Zach Mortice comments on the contemporary additions to the predominantly Collegiate Gothic campus and the opportunities we created for different disciplines to mingle. He praises the new spaces designed for communal gathering—particularly the double-story Kuehner Family Court on the second floor of Weil Hall, which he calls a “showstopper”:  
A towering green wall on the south side of the room has real weight and heft. Elevated off the floor, it's a massive object, unmistakably a wall, but still given to levitation. Combine its shaggy vegetation (a mix of ferns and ficus) with the immense, thick square lighting array above, and there's a tactile monumentality to the space, bathed in muted, warm light. With this new play of light and surface at the Kuehner Court, the pink granite artisanship of the rest of the campus feels faraway. 
Read an excerpt below, or click through to the full article

[KieranTimberlake] increased the amount of exhibition space in the Kemper Art Museum, delivering larger galleries for ever-larger art objects, and designed a new north facade of reflective stainless-steel pleats. The accordion folds are a direct reference to Steinberg Hall's concrete origami, and give the museum a far stronger presence on campus. 
Anabeth and John Weil Hall, another new construction, has a more subdued presence. A simple 80,670-square-foot glass box with external vertical fins that modulate heat gain, the facility anchors the Sam Fox campus, which brings together the entirety of the school's student population for the first time in decades. James Timberlake, founding partner of KieranTimberlake, says his team pursued a “lights-on expression” at Weil that would signal a constant hum of activity. Weil, he adds, “is very much an intentional gathering point for the whole school.”