Washington University in St. Louis - East Campus Parking Garage
The East Campus Parking Garage is one part of an incredible investment by Washington University in its near and distant future. While an underground parking garage isn’t typically thought of as a central focal point worth consideration as an experience, BNIM designers pushed Washington University to think more holistically about the arrival experience for visitors, students and faculty alike. With the current modes of transportation to the East Campus being primarily through cars and bus, the first impression one gets of the university was the newly planned underground parking garage. Apart from housing vehicles, what else can a garage do to facilitate connection and enhance a campus entry experience? This was the question the design team tackled in collaboration with Kieran Timberlake.
Blurring the line between landscape and architecture, the completed East Campus Parking Garage creates a beautiful welcoming experience no matter the mode of transportation used to visit campus. Elegant openings in the landscape with subtle extensions of concrete, glass and stainless steel railings allow for movement of vehicles and pedestrians to interconnected spaces above and below grade. The central landscape was reclaimed from surface parking to expansive park space that is functionally a green roof for the garage with targeted openings to below for daylighting of spaces below.
My role in this project came at the end of design development in which there was still much to work through in terms of documentation cartooning and detailing. I was charged with modeling and detailing the complex concrete geometries, the many stairs, elevators and connections to adjacent Kieran Timberlake buildings. Design and detailing of these elements followed the intent of visual simplicity and strict vertical structure grids. Elements were either not to be highlighted and were detailed in such a way that they faded away or were solid but should be designed with a softness and human scale. Following the completion of the construction set and providing bidding assistance, I aided in revision drawing during construction as necessary for the Project Architect responsible for construction administration.
Text from BNIM Architects
Following the East Campus Framework Plan (with Sasaki and Andropogon) and the East Campus Master Plan (with Michael Vergason), BNIM continued its collaborative relationship at Washington University in St. Louis, this time with KieranTimberlake on a new underground parking garage.
The new garage is the connective tissue for all of the buildings on campus. It also plays a prominent role in the visitor experience. The overall goal of removing cars from the landscape and creating comfort, safety, and beauty for pedestrians was paired with the goal of creating a welcoming presence for visitors to the campus when entering campus through the new parking facility. As such, it has been carefully crafted to uphold WUSTL’s prestigious reputation, designed with the intention of making visitors and other users feel welcome and comfortable when coming to campus.
Knowing that the need for parking will eventually decrease over time, the team designed the garage to be transformed into academic or other campus space in the future. The design incorporates higher floor-to-floor dimensions, heavier floor loads for anticipated occupancies, accommodation for connections to daylight and landscape above, and other strategies that will enhance the transformation of parking space into people spaces.
Renderings in collaboration with KieranTimberlake. Garage rendering provided by Studio AMD.
Section completed by other BNIM Architects staff prior to involvement in collaboration with Kieran Timberlake. Included for context.
Construction Progress Images
Glass elevator assembly mock up with stainless steel shoe, custom bar vent, and pitched laminated glass canopy
Cast-in-place concrete progress
Example Construction Document Drawings
St. Louis, Missouri
Higher Education Parking Infrastructure, Professional
BNIM Architects | Kansas City, Missouri
+ Kieran Timberlake | Philadelphia, PA
Washington University in St. Louis
AIA Regional & Urban Design Award | 2023
AIA PA - Design Excellence | Merit Award 2020
AIA St. Louis - Design Excellence | Honor Award 2021