WUSTL Trustees Green-Light $240M Danforth Campus Transformation

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Washington University in St. Louis transformation

The Washington University Board of Trustees have approved a $240M transformation of the Danforth Campus east end. The vision mirrors that posted on this site in October of last year (Washington University Set for Major Transformation of Danforth Campus). Groundbreaking is set for spring 2017, with completion planned for spring 2019.

The overall vision remains the same as detailed previously, a 790-space underground parking facility, closing Hoyt and Brookings Drives, adding Weil and Jubel Hall, and creating an expansive multi-use green space. Moore Ruble Yudell will design engineering’s Jubel Hall, and KieranTimberlake is designing Weil Hall, as well as the glass pavilions, a signature style of that firm. The Central Green is designed by Michael Vergason Landscape Architects and McCarthy will manage the project’s overall construction.

Aesthetically, the biggest change is the insertion of two glass pavilions, the Welcome Center and the Hub, near access to underground parking and atop existing Hoyt Drive. According to the university, one will serve as undergraduate admissions and general welcome center, while the other will including dining services, showers, changing rooms, and academic and office space. Missing from the more refined vision are additional buildings for the School of Engineering and Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts.

Washington University in St. Louis transformation

{overview of east campus vision from previous planning}

Washington University in St. Louis transformation{Brookings Hall from the Central Green looking southwest}

Washington University in St. Louis transformation{the project includes 790 underground parking spaces – shown here with dotted line}

Washington University in St. Louis transformation{parking garage entrances and car turnarounds will be accessed from Forsyth Avenue and Forest Park Parkway}

Washington University in St. Louis transformation

Washington University in St. Louis transformation{two glass pavilions will anchor the north and south of the Central Green}

{underground parking model from previous campus planning}

{early campus planning envisions a more complete east end}


Key components of the plan  approved by university trustees are:

  • Henry A. and Elvira H. Jubel Hall — Set to house the School of Engineering & Applied Science’s Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science (MEMS), Jubel Hall will offer infrastructure and research facilities that are key to fostering the interdisciplinary nature of engineering.
  • Anabeth and John Weil Hall — Weil Hall will be a symbol of the university’s commitment to creativity in the 21st century and will identify the Sam Fox School as a leader in design practice and education. This new front door to the Sam Fox School will express the important roles for art and architecture in a research university and will help guide the future of these disciplines.
  • Welcome Center and the Hub: Two new interdisciplinary pavilions framing Brookings Hall — The Welcome Center will offer all visitors a home base for their campus experience and will house Undergraduate Admissions. The Hub, open to the campus and broader communities, will bring together dining, alternative transportation support and academic programming.
  • Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum lobby and gallery — An addition on the north side of the Kemper Art Museum will establish a transparent and welcoming entry for the community as well as create additional gallery space to showcase a larger portion of the museum’s renowned collection. The project also will include renovations integrating the Florence Steinberg Weil Sculpture Garden into the landscape of the east end of the Danforth Campus.
  • Underground parking facility — A nearly 800-space underground parking garage will allow for the elimination of surface parking and vehicular traffic from the east end of the Danforth Campus, make it possible for the building and landscaping projects to proceed, and ensure a safer and more pleasant experience across campus for pedestrians and bicycle traffic.
  • Transformative landscape — The new east end of the Danforth Campus will offer both a welcoming entrance and places to gather and celebrate. Landscaping will honor the historical design of the Danforth Campus and offer an enhanced, tree-lined frame of Brookings Hall while improving pedestrian access into and across the Danforth Campus. The landscape design will bring most of the east end to the same elevation, limiting the need for stairs and ramps and offering a more accessible entrance to the university. At the heart of the new development of the east end of the Danforth Campus will be a beautiful and inviting new campus gathering place, the Central Green.
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  • rgbose

    Looks like they’ve been doing soil sampling recently.

  • rgbose

    Is the lot across Skinker meant to be anything?

  • Jeff Fister

    When WU was criticized once for turning a grassy lawn into yet another gothic building, Wrighton said he considered Forest Park to be the school’s green space. With that attitude and a healthy endowment, no wonder they’re churning up the front yard of the school to create yet more monuments to $65,000-a-year-tuition. Wash U can’t leave well enough alone. Maybe Biondi is secretly giving Wrighton lessons on empire building.

  • rgbose

    I fear this will degrade the #1 and #2 bus routes.

  • stlchem

    I find the timeline they propose interesting… from all their documents it seems like they want to do all the construction at once. I understand not wanting to have perpetual construction, but that is going to be a huge mess with all those projects in 2 years, especially since most of their recent buildings taking 18 months to build

  • STLEnginerd

    So even though they say there is reduced demand is there actually a reduction in the number of parking spots? From an eyeball perspective it looks roughly equivalent to the current surface parking numbers. Also they very recently built a sizable underground garage on the west end of campus so overall parking spots available seems like it must have increased in the last decade.

    That said as far as I’m concerned they could build as much underground parking as they want. It vastly improves the visual appeal and walk ability of the campus whether counts are going up or down as long as they are buried. Looks like it opens a few more parcels for eventual new buildings as well.

    • rgbose

      The Danforth University Center took out some surface parking. As did the Laboratory Science building. Seigle did too. And they took a chunk out of the parking garage north of the Knight Center.

  • Michael Vergason…with a “V”

  • Tim E

    The underground parking structure is such that it looks like square footage can easily be added later on the new plan. In part, I think the new plan/renderings reflects what can happen in near future, which is another significant investment at $240 million.
    Not too mention Forest Park Forever is closing in on a $130 million endowment and some $30 million in work

  • Brian

    Wrighton’s last hurrah? The physical transformation of the campus under his leadership is impressive. I hope the University’s commitment to increase diversity receives the same level of support.

    • Brian Lewis

      According to the WUSTL news service, the entering freshman class increased underrepresented minorities by 60% and very low income students by 40%, year-over-year. They’re at 18 and 11 percent for this class, respectively.