Washington University in St. Louis

WashU Constructing Net-Zero Occupational Therapy Facility

Project Will Compete in 2023 U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Solar Decathlon Build Challenge


Washington University in St. Louis broke ground Nov. 11 on an energy-savvy occupational therapy center in the Delmar Maker District. The construction phase of the project, estimated to reach completion by early March 2023, is aiming for a net-zero Dept. of Energy designation, meaning the building will create more energy than it uses. In fewer than three years, the facility’s energy surplus will more than account for its total embodied carbon, the carbon that is released through the construction process.

Washington University in St. Louis architecture students designed SMOOTH (Smart Home for Occupational Therapy Healing) House. It features a combined research, training and clinical space for the School of Medicine’s OT program.

2022-11-11–Members of the Washington University in St. Louis community gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of construction of a new, student-designed occupational therapy outpatient clinic in the Delmar Maker District. A team of architects, medical professionals and engineers, including students, from Washington University in St. Louis and Chicago-based architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill have collaborated for the past year to conceive and design SMOOTH House (Smart Home for Occupational Therapy Healing) as part of the University’s efforts to build a carbon neutral, net-zero building for the US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2023 Build Challenge.

“SMOOTH House is a net-zero building that will bring new research, education and clinical service opportunities to the Delmar Maker District and to the larger West End neighborhood,” said Carmon Colangelo, dean and professor for collaboration in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. “We are incredibly proud of this project.”

In April, SMOOTH House will vie for recognition in the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Solar Decathlon Build Challenge. Unlike previous years, the 2023 competition will not require the building to be disassembled and brought to a central competition location. This structure will find its permanent home at 5162 Delmar Boulevard.

The university’s occupational therapy staff is expected to occupy the building in Summer 2023. The building will treat and serve recovering OT patients relearn old skills and develop new strategies for completing domestic tasks.

Chicago-based architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s research about the intersection of building design and human health through interdisciplinary design studios and seminars formed the basis for this project.

Hongxi Yin, associate professor in advanced building systems and architectural design at Washington University in St. Louis, said every construction project asks a series of questions, such as “What is it? What is it for? How is it made?”

“Maybe the most important question is: What challenges are we attempting to solve?” said Yin. “SMOOTH house addresses two very important challenges: public health and climate change. These are two of the most complex challenges facing the world today.”

Water, Water, Everywhere


XTreme LA Challenge explores water strategy in Wells Goodfellow; design presentation Nov. 8

Water is the key to life. But for city planners, water poses a profound question: How do we ensure residents a constant supply of fresh, clean water while also protecting vulnerable areas from flooding?

On Nov. 6, 7 and 8, design professionals from around the country will gather in St. Louis for the ninth annual XTreme LA (Landscape Architecture) Challenge. Hosted by the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, the three-day charrette will explore water strategies relating to Project Clear, a Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) initiative that aims to improve water quality and reduce sewer overflow.

“River rise has historically been an issue for the city of St. Louis, and climate change is now worsening the situation,” said Rod Barnett, professor and chair of landscape architecture. “Large-scale rain events can overwhelm the system.

“How water is managed here is linked to what is occurring on a global scale,” Barnett said. “As in many places around the world, inundation in St. Louis occurs in low-lying areas primarily occupied by underserved and poor communities, making it both an environmental justice issue and an ecological urbanism challenge.”

This year’s XTreme LA Challenge will focus on the Wells Goodfellow neighborhood in north St. Louis, in an area that MSD and the Green City Coalition have earmarked for conversion to public open space. The visiting designers will work with Sam Fox School students and faculty to develop a series of actionable plans to address flood mitigation, biodiversity, habitat and public health — and to engage the local community as active partners in the design process.

“Long term, this problem will require nothing less than a wholesale reformulation of water-based urbanism,” Barnett said. Participants hope to generate “ecologically appropriate designs that do the job and offer a vision for constructive transformation.”

The XTreme LA Challenge is co-sponsored by the Landscape Architecture Foundation and Landscape Forms. A public presentation of workshop designs will take place at noon Wednesday, Nov. 8, in the Sam Fox School’s Lewis Center, 721 Kingsland Ave. For more information, visit samfoxschool.wustl.edu.

McCarthy Begins Construction of Transformative Project at Washington University in St. Louis


Multi-building assignment will transform the east end of Washington University’s Danforth Campus.

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has started construction of a multi-building project that will transform the east end of Washington University’s Danforth Campus into a hub for state-of-the-art research and teaching, as well as a vibrant green space.

As construction manager, McCarthy will implement a comprehensive plan that includes the construction of three new academic buildings, two multi-use pavilions, an underground parking facility and a new expansive landscape. It also includes an expansion of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum.

“These enhancements will expand the university’s capacity for academic programs, create opportunities for greater interdisciplinary interaction and transform the campus entrance,” says JD Long, associate vice chancellor for facilities planning & management at Washington University in St. Louis. “The project will advance the university’s academic mission while creating a more collaborative, welcoming campus environment.”

Major components of the east end transformation include:

  • Anabeth and John Weil Hall, an 82,100-sq.-ft. interdisciplinary building, will serve as the new front door to the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts.
  • The 25,500-sq.ft. Gary M. Sumers Welcome Center will house Undergraduate Admissions and Student Financial Services.
  • Henry A. and Elvira H. Jubel Hall is a 80,600-sq.-ft. building that will house the School of Engineering & Applied Science’s Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science.
  • The School of Engineering & Applied Science’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering will be located in the new James M. McKelvey, Sr. Hall.
  • The new Ann and Andrew Tisch Park will provide a campus gathering place and expanded green space.
  • A 5,600-sq.-ft. addition to Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum will enable the museum to showcase a larger portion of its world-class collection and expand its exhibition program.
  • The Craig and Nancy Schnuck Pavilion, an 18,000-sq.-ft. multi-use facility, will bring together a range of dining options, academic programs, the Office of Sustainability, and resources for pedestrian and bicycle commuters.
  • A new 790-space underground parking facility will provide convenient, safe and accessible parking.

“McCarthy is honored to partner with Washington University on this transformative project that will reshape the eastern end of the Danforth campus,” says McCarthy Project Director Ryan Moss. “Our team is uniquely skilled in coordinating the complex details and phasing to maximize quality, efficiency, safety and value for the university and broader St. Louis community.”

Reflecting Washington University’s strong commitment to the development of workforce diversity, the project team includes extensive participation of local certified minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE).

Sustainability is a high priority as well, with all new buildings targeting LEED Gold certification. Solar photovoltaic arrays located on many of the roofs will generate renewable electricity. High-efficiency heat recovery chillers will harvest waste heat for much of the heating needs, and the underground garage will be capped with a green roof to create a dynamic, car-free park above. The park’s landscape design features rain gardens with bio-retention, native plantings and a diverse tree canopy. Low-carbon transportation will be encouraged with a new bike commuter facility that includes showers and lockers, electric vehicle charging stations, and a network of bicycle and pedestrian pathways to link the campus to Forest Park and regional greenways.

The majority of the construction is anticipated to be completed prior to spring 2019 commencement.

Ongoing project updates and related resources are accessible at campusnext.wustl.edu.

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the oldest privately held national construction company in the country – with more than 150 years spent collaborating with partners to solve complex building challenges on behalf of its clients. 

Tarlton Serves as Construction Manager for Bryan Hall Renovation at Washington University in St. Louis


Bryan Hall Int.Tarlton Corp., a St. Louis-based general contracting and construction management firm, is serving as construction manager on the 59,000-square-foot renovation of Bryan Hall on the Danforth Campus at Washington University in St. Louis.

The Tarlton team is transforming Bryan Hall, dedicated in 1970, into a world-class facility consisting of high-end laboratory and teaching spaces for the Department of Chemistry in Arts & Sciences. The renovation will add more than 25,000 square feet of space for chemistry research, with additional spaces for existing research groups. On the first and second floors, the building’s vibration-sensitive design supports instrument-based chemistry. The third floor will eventually house radio/nuclear chemistry research laboratories, with the fourth and fifth floors home to fume hood-intensive synthetic laboratories as well as additional space for instrumentation-based chemistry.

Tarlton’s renovation of Bryan Hall began in May 2016 and will continue through to scheduled completion in December 2017, with occupancy of the building planned for spring 2018. Ayers Saint Gross is the project architect. Bryan Hall previously served as classroom and meeting spaces for the School of Engineering & Applied Science.

The renovation includes the reconstruction of the existing elevated span between Bryan Hall and chemistry facilities in McMillan Hall, allowing for office space, meeting space and better flow between the two buildings. The span is a connecting space but also serves as a critical gateway for students and visitors to access the inner portion of the campus. In addition, a new penthouse will house mechanical equipment to serve Bryan Hall. The equipment will serve an integral role in providing chilled water for the campus water loop. Work also includes the removal of the north face of Bryan Hall, the first of several buildings on the north end of the Danforth campus to receive a new facade as part of a multi-phase plan. The modern glass and a terracotta skin sunscreen system is designed to dramatically enhance the building’s appearance.

A separate project is the demolition and replacement of the pedestrian bridge that crosses Forest Park Parkway, to be replaced with one that offers a wider corridor with separate bike and pedestrian paths. Work on the pedestrian bridge began in summer 2016 and will be completed next summer.

The renovation is part of “Driving Discovery,” Washington University’s multiphase initiative that will create new research and teaching facilities for the sciences on the north end of the Danforth campus.

“Driving Discovery will create an ecosystem – an interconnected community of scientists and students working in state-of-the-art facilities – that fosters innovation and collaboration,” said Barbara A. Schaal, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biology in Arts & Sciences.

“We’re delighted to lead the construction team on the Bryan Hall renovation,” said Tracy Hart, president, Tarlton Corp. “The project builds on our successful relationship with Washington University and adds to our long-standing body of work on the campus.” The Tarlton team for the renovation  includes Matthew Pfund, project executive; Sondra Rotty, senior project manager; Andrew Nelch, project manager; Nick Eshelman and Josh Narup, project engineers; and Eric Nichols, project superintendent.

Significant Tarlton construction projects for Washington University include the $90 million LEED Gold Olin Business School expansion of Knight Hall and Bauer Hall, which garnered a national 2015 Alliant Build America Award; Simon Hall renovations, a finalist for a 2016 Construction Keystone Award from the Associated General Contractors of Missouri; a LEED Gold addition to McMillan Hall; Anheuser-Busch Law Building renovations; Seigle Hall; the Knight Executive Education Center; Koenig and Liggett residence halls; and the Earth & Planetary Sciences Building, the first LEED Certified project in St. Louis.

In business since 1946, Tarlton Corp. is a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise that completes projects for wide-ranging clients in the life science, higher education, health care, commercial, power and industrial markets.