St. Louis, Missouri

Washington University in St. Louis
John M. Olin Library

Olin Library, constructed in 1962, is a campus crossroads where the University community connects daily through study, research, collaboration, and chance encounter. Our Master Plan for the 183,000 square-foot Library considered all spaces as well as new collaborative settings in the building needed by other academic departments throughout the campus. It set the scope for a subsequent building renovation and expansion project.

Two new climate-controlled floors are excavated below the building, one floor for the storage of special collections previously stored off-campus and the other floor for a new global research center. Building circulation is reorganized around a central main street, bordered by a 75’ long exhibit case for showcasing highlights of the Library’s collections. A new glass structure inserted within an existing atrium links four floors with new exhibition, café, and study spaces. The building remained open throughout construction, and expansion was accomplished with no increase to the Library building’s footprint.

Washington University in St. Louis
Completed 2018
Project Size
Renovation | 51,000 GSF
New Construction | 19,000 GSF
Library, Exhibition, Café, Education, Offices, Special Collection Storage
AIA St. Louis Design Merit Award
Grand Conceptor Award from ACEC Missouri Chapter
Honor Award from ACEC National Chapter
The library is reorganized around a new central Main Street, a 75-foot-long gallery alcove featuring a climate-controlled display case for changing exhibitions and a specialized case for displaying a historic copy of the Declaration of Independence. The alcove provides space to pause and contemplate collection highlights.
The library’s original roof monitor was captured to create a third-floor seminar and study space filled with natural light. Exhibition panels mounted in channel glass and the curved soffit provide critical sound absorption and acoustical control.

Our Process

Ann Beha Architects, now Annum Architects
Project Team
Thomas M. Hotaling AIA, Steven Gerrard AIA, Ann M. Beha FAIA, Ian Ford AIA, Amit Oza AIA (ABA/Annum); V Three Studios (Associate Architect); Alper Audi (Structural); Murphy Company (MEP); Available Light (Lighting); Superior Exhibits (Exhibit Fabrication); Click Netherfield (Museum Case Fabrication); SWT Design (Landscape); Cole & Associates (Civil); CCI (Code); Wil-Spec (Specifications); Acentech (Acoustics); Sextant (AV); DVS (Security); The Capital Projects Group (Cost); Alberici Inc. (Construction Management); Alise O’Brien (Photography)