“Breathtaking” campus transformation puts acres of car-parking underground

A sweeping, $360m planning, design and construction project has transformed the Danforth Campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri two years after work began.

Officially dedicated on 2 October, the largest capital project in the university’s recent history revamped 18 acres of the campus.

It added five new buildings, put six acres of car parking spaces underground, created an expansive new park where the cars used to be, and expanded the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.

The university said the reimagined landscape builds on the original 1895 campus plan by Olmsted, Olmsted & Eliot, but looks to the future.

For instance, the underground parking garage is designed to be converted into classrooms and labs if car use declines in the coming years.

Watch the two-year transformation condensed into one minute and thirty seconds:


The new buildings are the Gary M. Sumers Welcome Center, which houses undergraduate admissions and other services; the Craig and Nancy Schnuck Pavilion, which houses a café, the Environmental Studies program and the Office of Sustainability; the Henry A. and Elvira H. Jubel Hall, which houses the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science in the McKelvey School of Engineering; and the James M. McKelvey, Sr. Hall, which will be completed in 2020 and open in 2021 and will house the McKelvey School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering.

Partners on the project, called East End Transformation, include McCarthy Building Companies as construction manager and Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, as landscape architect and planner.

Planning and design firms were:

  • KieranTimberlake (Weil Hall, Sumers Welcome Center, Schnuck Pavilion, Kemper Art Museum expansion)
  • Mackey Mitchell (Jubel Hall)
  • Moore Ruble Yudell (Jubel Hall)
  • Perkins Eastman (McKelvey Hall)
  • BNIM (east end parking garage)

The university’s chancellor, Andrew D. Martin, called the project "a breathtaking and sustainable extension of the Danforth Campus".

Image: Washington University’s East End Transformation was officially dedicated on 2 October 2019 (Joe Angeles/Washington University)

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