WUSTL Plans $35M Remake of Danforth Campus North Entrance

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While the east end of the Washington University in St. Louis Danforth Campus may be getting the most transformative makeover at the region’s premier university, another project aims to remake the campus’s north entrance.

Planned is a $35M remake of 49K sf Bryan Hall, built in 1968. The project has not been given a start date, but may be completed by 2018. Bryan, along with McMillen and Louderman Halls, comprise a group of buildings that didn’t adhere to the collegiate gothic of much of the campus, but were also not adventurous like the school’s Steinberg Hall, or now demolished Mudd and Eliot Halls.

Images by architect Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore show “selective demolition” of Bryan Hall and remade facades for McMillen, Bryan, Jolley, and Urbauer Halls. A two-story bridge would connect Bryan and McMillen, replacing an existing one-story connection. Ayers Saint Gross previously worked with WUSTL on various planning projects including Cortex.



The pedestrian bridge over Forest Park Parkway and the MetroLink Blue Line, is shown remade as well, with a wider, more open and modern appearance. The bridge is part of the Centennial Greenway, a multi-use path planned to eventually connect Forest Park with Creve Coeur Park.

Bryan Hall will receive a vibration-sensitive design to support instrument-based chemistry, while the top three stories will become home to fume hood-intensive research labs for synthetic and radio/nuclear chemistry research. The group of Bryan, McMillen, and Louderman Halls are home to the school’s Department of Chemistry.


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WUSTL has seemingly never stopped building over the past decade. The Danforth Campus has seen new buildings for art and architecture, student housing, business, engineering, social work, and athletics. The $240M transformation of the east end of campus was approved by school trustees this past fall and is planned for a 2019 completion.

An $18M remake of the school’s Olin Library is set to being next month. That project will open lower levels of the building to more seating and space for special collections and research space. A new north entrance and circulation will be created as well.

The school, along with BJC Healthcare, is also remaking its medical campus at the opposite end of Forest Park. In 2014, the school opened its Loop Living development on Delmar Boulevard just north of the Danforth Campus. The university’s Sam Fox School recently chose architect KieranTimberlake to design Weil Hall.

WUSTL7{vision for remade east end of WUSTL Danforth Campus}

WUSTL6{rendering of new central courtyard at east end of Danforth Campus}

WUSTL5{rendering of Field House athletic facility project under construction}

Images of Olin Library renovation by Ann Beha Architects:

Olin Library by Ann Beha Architects Olin Library by Ann Beha Architects Olin Library by Ann Beha Architects

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  • I love seeing just how wide the new bridge appears to be. The existing footbridge was poorly designed and acknowledged as so by both Wash U and Great Rivers. Some old Great Rivers meeting minutes from 2008(?) make mention of the bridge being too narrow for the volume and mix of pedestrians and bicyclists.

    I do remember being upset/mad to find somebody installed half gates at each end of the bridge to slow down bicyclists or force them to dismount. I was glad to see that the gates had been broken and ripped off just a few short weeks later.

  • SnakePlissken

    It’s great to have a university actively investing in its community, isn’t it? Take note, *cough* SLU *cough*

    • Billikens&Bricks

      Comments like these are just worn and trite at this point.

      Yes, Wash U. has done a better job in the past. Yes, SLU has made PLENTY of mistakes. Wash U. is also bordering U. City, Clatyon, Forest Park, etc. SLU is not…the city bulldozed its nearest neighborhood decades ago (Mill Creek). Wash U. also has a marge larger endowment and costs significantly more. SLU is cheaper and more economically diverse. Both schools have great outreach programs and give back to the community in a variety of ways. Point: There is a place for both universities. At this point, simply calling out SLU when Wash U. invests in their OWN campus does little good.

      Biondi is no longer in charge. SLU has already shown some improvement. Let’s hold them accountable when they demolish buildings (duh) but bringing them into this is pointless.

  • Presbyterian

    This is a great design. I appreciate the modern design in the midst of the collegiate gothic.

  • rgbose

    Looks pretty nice!

    • moorlander

      I agree. WashU does exceptional work. I’m lucky to live so close to their beautiful campus.

  • According to the renderings, it appears the plan calls for the removal of a couple small buildings fronting Forest Park Parkway on either side of the footbridge.

    • Alex Ihnen

      Right. There’s clearly some design work/decisions to come as the footbridge image (top) shows only Bryan Hall getting a new facade, while the aerial view shows four buildings receiving a makeover.

    • Imran

      Driving by there today, I realized that some of those small buildings are two stories. Once they are removed there will be a ?two story grass slope around the bridge I guess. Will probably help make Forest Park Parkway feel more like a highway (insert eye roll).
      Don’t mind the modern design though. And the current faux historic bridge will not be a big loss. Its awkward proportions will not be missed.