Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Unfazed by Underground Surprises

Innovative Inverted Vertical Expansion

To create additional space for discovery, collaboration, and instruction, Alberici constructed a two-story underground addition at Washington University’s Olin Library. By building the addition underground, Washington University was able to increase the building footprint while preserving green space on campus.

Overcoming Unforeseen Sub-Soil Conditions

During excavation, the team discovered that the existing piers, originally planned to support the expansion, stopped short up to six feet from where they were shown on the as-built drawings.  For six weeks, all work stopped as Alberici collaborated with the Owner and design team to devise a solution. Alberici ultimately shored the building, removed the existingpiers, and added new columns.

Maintaining Library Operations

Olin Library remained open to students 24 hours per day, 7 days per week as Alberici built the underground addition and renovated areas of the existing library. Alberici maintained building access and circulation, and phased work to avoid peak library usage times.

Museum-Quality Spaces

Climate control and security were critical for the expanded library spaces, including those within two new and distinct galleries housing for Special Collections. This included The Thomas Gallery, a 65-foot-long, continuous, secure, interchangeable display case to preserve and promote rare and archival materials. The adjacent Declaration Chamber is a walk-in exhibit that houses a rare copy of a broadside of the Declaration of Independence, printed in 1776.