Mackey Mitchell worked in partnership with Moore Ruble Yudell Architects to design the new Hillman Hall for the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. The 105,000SF, $60 million building sits at the heart of campus, adjacent to the historic Brookings Hall. It provides academic, faculty office, research, and public event space to support the growing Master of Social Work program, ranked #1 in the world for several years.
The building's diverse program is distributed around a highly social network of shared spaces for large public events and smaller seminar discussions, organized along a wide, sinuous corridor that provides access to more secluded clusters of faculty offices and research centers. A bright, open cafe anchors one end of the central corridor, with open seating that spills out into adjacent shared spaces, acting as a social magnet that draws people out of separate departments and encourages spontaneous dialogue between academic disciplines. The new building, as well as renovations to Goldfarb Hall, will support the growth of social work, public health, and public policy well into the future.
In line with the School's mission to train future generations of leaders who will engage with the larger community to solve society's most intractable social and human health problems, the building's entrances are well identified and welcoming, eradicating the physical and social barriers that might diminish the egalitarian sense of inclusion sought to cultivate with the design. This inclusion strategy extends to every part of the design, according to a well-organized universal design strategy, accommodating all levels of human physical, sensory, cognitive and social ability.
The rigor and inclusiveness of the planning process and resulting achievements are unmatched among academic buildings at Washington University. The building is truly unique.
- Edward Lawlor, PhD
Dean, Brown School of Social Work