Analysis of a standard facade system to push its capabilities and create a bespoke system within a limited budget for the major transformation of Washington University’s campus.

The 1990s Washington University campus has undergone a major east end transformation that includes four new buildings to strengthen academic connections and improve accessibility. These are the Weil Hall, Gary M. Sumers Welcome Center, Schnuck Pavilion and the Kemper Art Museum.

Eckersley O’Callaghan was tasked with the design of the facade systems and interior glazing whilst meeting the stringent Energy Conservation requirements and low budget set by the client.

The brief called for facades spanning 30’ which surpassed typical facade framing capabilities, which we overcame by designing creative restraints to the facade. Fins on the facade provide exterior shading devices as well as very thin ‘blade’ canopies. Both required creative detailing design to achieve standard system limitations.

Extensive finite element modelling was performed to demonstrate that standard facade framing systems would be adequate to deal with the long spans and exterior fins. These design challenges also required EOC to provide shop drawing level details for the contractors.

Extensive thermal analysis was also required of both the glass and framing to ensure the system performance met the requirements of the rigorous Energy Conservation requirements required.

To control solar gains and give privacy to the interior spaces of Weil Hall, we used a combination of vertical aluminium fins, spandrel panels and simulated acid etched glass panels. To cover the 45’x45’ courtyard, we designed a striking, long span skylight which was inserted into the crown of the building to create a light filled space below. The skylight used a veneer skylight system on top of structural steel framing.

Popup elevator enclosures to parking facilities were also required. Formed as full height glass boxes, we provided the glazing design system for the 10’ x 10 x 15’ tall structures with no framing support other than the elevator door frame.

St Louis, Missouri

Washington University

Kieran Timberlake