Washington University - Brown Hall 118 - Saint Louis, MO

This 177-seat tiered lecture room required cosmetic surgery. Since it was built in 1936, the well-used classroom had undergone numerous piecemeal changes in seating, heating & cooling systems, audio-visual technology, fire protection, and lighting. None of these, however, was implemented in a planned or orderly fashion, so the overall appearance on its 75th anniversary might best be described as utilitarian-chaotic. Our assignment was to make the room presentable, a task made even more challenging by a very short (sixty day) schedule and an even smaller budget. The Owner also requested, if possible, that we address the room’s acoustic deficiencies.

Our design solution consists of suspended, translucent vinyl-stretched aluminum frames that partially obscure and divert attention from the yards of random existing piping. These “cloud” elements soften edges with their curvilinear forms and also provide a moderate degree of sound-dampening. Their off-white skins diffuse existing down-light without diminishing overall functional light levels.

Acoustical wall panels and carefully placed wood rails provide additional organizing elements and add color, consistency and warmth to the space.

Even though the schedule was aggressive, we carefully modeled all significant features to verify site lines, projector functions and the overall practicability of our proposed design.