A two-building addition to Olin Business School in St. Louis nearly doubled its footprint on the Washington University Danforth campus—and it couldn’t have happened without glass.

Photo: William Lemke, courtesy of Super Sky Products Enterprises LLC and Linetec.
Photo: William Lemke, courtesy of Super Sky Products Enterprises LLC and Linetec.

Washington recently celebrated the 97th anniversary of Olin Business School with the dedication of the buildings — Knight Hall and Bauer Hall — which are crowned together by a five-story glass atrium that utilizes Super Sky Products’ skylight system. Linetec finished the system, which was painted with PPG’s Duranar coating. Viracon glass was used on the project.

Super Sky manufactured and installed the skylight systems in three sections, according to the company. The largest section is an 88-by-91-foot custom vault skylight, and a single-slope skylight caps another section measuring 5 feet by 46 feet by 5 inches. The final skylight is a 29-by-20-foot, custom-curved, single-slope system.

The project, which achieved LEED Gold certification, was completed last March.

While the painted aluminum skylight systems offer natural light and views with a connection to the outside world, the low-E insulated, laminated, silkscreened Viracon glass is optimized for occupant comfort. In all, the skylights’ total glass area is 11,150 square feet, with each of the hundreds of glass lites averaging five feet in length. Viracon’s glass also assists in lowering energy use by managing solar heat gain and glare.

“This is a building that is all about natural light – we wanted light to penetrate all five floors,” says James Kolker, assistant vice chancellor of campus planning and director of capital projects.

California-based Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners served as the architect of record for the project, with Mackey Mitchell Architects of St. Louis serving as the associate architect. General contractor Tarlton Corporation oversaw construction of the 177,000-square-foot, $90 million project.

The glass atrium unites the ensemble of buildings housing 11 classrooms, study rooms, a 300-seat auditorium, 75 faculty offices, lounges and other spaces to foster interaction, according to the release.

“Olin’s student body has more than doubled since we built our first building in 1986, and we have twice as many faculty and degree programs,” says Olin Business School’s dean, Mahendra Gupta. “We wanted these buildings to make a statement, to inspire everyone who is going to walk through these corridors, not just today, but for years to come.”

Adds Kolker: “The atrium has become a vertical town square, while the open, flexible spaces that surround it invite connection and collaboration.”