Housed in one of the campus’ most revered old buildings, the Washington University Department of Anthropology ranks among the strongest programs of its kind in the country. Along with its growing prestige, the department’s growing enrollments were beginning to strain McMillan hall’s 106-year-old infrastructure, which was already ill-equipped to support the department's research and teaching needs. Following two years and three phases of LEED Gold-certified renovation, the existing building is joined by a new 9,000sf addition offering a variety of indoor and outdoor learning spaces.
To master their craft, Anthropologists need to learn subtle skills of observation at extreme scales – to discover microscopic clues hidden on bones and fossils, and to distinguish between manmade and natural landforms in satellite imagery. Renovations and the new addition made way for a series of active learning classroom and lab spaces, with improved microscopy, lighting, and interactive teaching tools required to teach these elusive skills. On the spacious roof garden, students cultivate a variety of modern plant species. Samples are harvested and brought down to the flexible new labs immediately below, for comparison with fossilized samples of their ancient equivalents.
Described by Department Chair, Dr. T.R. Kidder PhD, as "transformative," the new facility empowers his faculty with spaces tailored to their particular needs, with interior and exterior windows that reveal to the campus community the fascinating tools of the art and science of Anthropology. "This is one of the most important and successful capital projects on the Danforth Campus in the past decade," said Hank Webber, Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration. "It provides a great department with the facilities they need to be even more successful."
This is one of the most important and successful capital projects on the Danforth Campus in the past decade.
- Hank Webber
Executive Vice Chancellor for Administration, Washington University in St. Louis