Washington University: James M. McKelvey, Sr. Hall 1

Washington University: James M. McKelvey, Sr. Hall

St. Louis, MO, USA

An exceptional new environment for world-class computational research and education.

Part of one of the most significant capital projects in Washington University in St. Louis’ recent history, the James M. McKelvey, Sr. Hall is the new home of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Perkins Eastman’s design honors the vision of long-time dean James M. McKelvey, Sr., and provides a state-of-the-art environment for high-impact research and training for future computation researchers, computer scientists and engineers.

Project Facts

  • Client:

  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Associate Architect:

  • patterhn ives llc
  • Size:

  • 86,000 sq. ft.
  • Services:

  • Architecture, Interior Design
  • Markets:

  • Science + Technology, Higher Education
  • Region:

  • United States

    News

  • Contemporary Architecture, a Chinese publication, features Washington University: James M. McKelvey, Sr. Hall as the cover story, devoting eight pages to the project in its July 2022 issue.
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    McKelvey Hall creates a flexible, interdisciplinary, energy-efficient, and sustainable environment for world-class computational research and education. Designed for adaptability and rapid change, the new home of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering provides a model for interdisciplinary collaboration, fostering student engagement and high-impact research.

    Replacing a vast surface parking lot, the new building is sited at a prominent corner of the historic campus along a formal allée, anchoring a vehicular entrance and framing the historic axial view toward the campus center.  The new building, which physically connects to an existing collegiate gothic campus building, strives for resonance with its context and its place. The outer perimeter responds to the university’s masonry and collegiate gothic architecture and features a combination of Missouri red granite and limestone, while a newly formed inner courtyard adopts a transparent and informal language, reflecting the innovative research taking place inside the building and simultaneously responding to recent contemporary campus additions.

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    The building’s interiors echo this duality, with internal spaces for offices and administration synced to the building’s traditional collegiate gothic exteriors, and an open, flexible concept providing a dramatic window into the contemporary, state-of-the-art computational research work areas via the courtyard-facing, multi-story curtain wall.

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    Various research disciplines are connected to one another with a series of communicating stairs that come together in the Commons.

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    Sustainability is an important focus for the university. McKelvey Hall was designed and built with some of the most rigorous standards for material health, Perkins Eastman senior designer Jennifer Romeo says. “The client had a thorough and comprehensive plan for sustainable operations on campus,” she says. “We worked with them to identify what that would mean for McKelvey Hall in detail and how we could raise the bar for not only this project, but future projects.” The school’s sustainability team brought together the architects, contractors, and outside consultants for collaborative charrettes throughout the design-build process.

    With attention to solar orientation and shading, ample natural light, high-performance façade design, and energy efficiency, the building promotes student productivity and well-being campus-wide.

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    Washington University hired a consultant to help vet every material that was selected for McKelvey Hall, which was screened against a multitude of variables, including the LEED v4 requirements; Red List chemicals; healthcare-level standards outlined in the Healthier Hospitals Initiative; and the WELL Building Standard. The interiors team, likewise, made furniture and design selections that were in line not only with the International Living Future Institute’s Declare program, but with the Cradle to Cradle certification, meaning they were manufactured with minimal waste and less harmful ingredients in facilities that use renewable, carbon-free energy.

    In the Bytes cafe, for example, the design team reclaimed wood from an allee of pin oaks that had to be taken down for construction, and incorporated them into tabletops and shelving. In addition to choosing healthy, sustainable fabrics and furniture, the team also recycled furnishings from the department’s previous building.

    McKelvey Hall followed an integrated design process incorporating the principles of sustainable design with attention to energy efficiency, low impact materials, reuse and recycling, quality and durability, and health and wellness. The building is on target to meet or exceed LEED 4.0 Gold v.4 standards.

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