St. Louis Public Library / Cannon Design

St. Louis Public Library / cannon design

© Timothy Hursley © Timothy Hursley

  • Year Final year of this architectural project



  • Photographs

    Photographs: Timothy Hursley

  • Manufacturer brands with products used in this architectural project

    Manufacturer: Designtex, Ellison bronze, Lutron, 3M, BASWA acoustically, Belden, CertainTeed, Color rate, Cooper Lighting, Daikin, Delta faucet, ELP, Expanko, Firestone building products, Focal lights, Forms + surfaces, Gotham lighting, HAWS, interface, Irwin Seating Company, +37-37

© Timothy Hursley © Timothy Hursley © Timothy Hursley © Timothy Hursley + 13



Or© Timothy Hursley © Timothy Hursley

Text description of the architects. Cannon Design, an internationally recognized architecture, engineering and design firm, is pleased to announce that it has completed the transformative restoration, renovation and adaptive reuse of the St. Louis Public Library, Central Library. The central library, the crown jewel of the St. Louis Public Library system, was originally funded by Andrew Carnegie and designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert in 1912.

© Timothy Hursley © Timothy Hursley

The library revitalization increases the public space by more than 38,000 SF, modernizes the library for the 21st century, contributes to the urban renewal of St. Louis and strengthens the stature of the building as a cultural treasure. More than 11,000 people visited the library in the opening week. The library continues to enjoy increased visitor numbers and acceptance and wins the Architizer A + Award for Best Library, a competition with more than 150,000 public votes worldwide.

© Timothy Hursley © Timothy Hursley

The original three-story building was designed in the Beaux Arts style with a ceremonial granite staircase, a vaulted reception foyer and a centrally located Great Hall. The hall is surrounded by five wings, four of which are public reading rooms and the fifth, the north wing, is dedicated to a multi-story collection of books that are closed to the public. A structurally independent steel frame, which doubles as a bookcase and floor support, was inserted between the walls of the north wing by Gilbert. This “building within the building” had to be replaced in order to counter fire and earthquake hazards. The redesign of the north wing is really rejuvenating the library and bringing it into the 21st century by removing old stacks of books and adding a new “building within the building”. Now a multi-story public atrium provides an accessible and inviting entrance. In the glazed upper levels is the collection of compact-density bookcases. These books are now visible to the public as visual elements of the space. The north wall windows, now clear glass, reflect natural light deep into the interior and offer an impressive view.

© Timothy Hursley © Timothy Hursley

The Great Hall and four public wings are being restored and revived in their turn-of-the-century splendor and equipped with new mechanical, electrical and fire protection systems as well as modern data and electrical tracks. A new public entrance on Locust Street shifts Gilbert’s original facade into a canopy that emerges from a pool of water without touching the building. The new entrance opens the building to a surrounding district north of the library. “With regard to the library project, I am very proud of how we created a solution where the new structure and the existing building live in harmony,” said George Nikolajevich, FAIA, Design Principal. “The design feels natural… a really great place to spend time. I take pride in knowing that the design feels effortless and I hope it turns out to be timeless. ”

© Timothy Hursley © Timothy Hursley

Cannon Design is an idea-based practice that ranks among the leading international companies in planning and design for clients in the healthcare, education, corporate and government sectors. The company currently employs over 1,000 people and provides services in 15 offices in North America and abroad in Shanghai (China) and Mumbai (India).


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