Cannon Design St. Louis Public Library Extension Dec 5th

Cannon Design - STL Public Library Postcard (FRONT)_Crop

Creative Exchange Lab – The Center for Architecture and Design Saint Louis (CEL) in collaboration with Cannon Design Group will explore the renovation of St. Louis’ Central Library through an exhibition at  CEL’s Locust Street location in Downtown St. Louis beginning December 5. The exhibition will open with lectures by Lynn Grossman, AIA – Project Architect and Designer for the Library Project and Vice president of Cannon Design, and Eric Mease – Senior Associate, Architecture, Cannon Design.

Completed in 1912 and designed by Cass Gilbert, (architect of the Saint Louis Art Museum), the library was influenced by the grand architecture that Gilbert experienced on his frequent trips to Europe during the early part of the twentieth century. The building was funded by the industrialist Andrew Carnegie, and is one of more than 1,600 American libraries supported by Carnegie from the late 19th to the early 20th centuries.

The Cannon Design Group has received several honors for the work done on this building, including : America’s Best Buildings of the Year (ABBY) Awards, Citation, Buildings Magazine; Interior Architecture; Merit Award, AIA Central States Region; Library Building Honor Award, AIA/American Library Association (ALA); Merit Award, AIA St. Louis; National Preservation Honor Award, National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The renovation has kept several of Gilbert’s original concepts intact, such as the building-within-a-building paradigm that is seen in the atrium staircase with platforms that do not touch the interior walls. Revealed during the process is the repository of books, original white porcelain tile (which had obscured from view behind the stacks), and the restoration of the Grand Hall — an iconic element in architecture of the period.

On the exterior, a modernist canopy emerges from a water element, but remains unattached to the facade – approaching but not touching the original building. The canopy is inscribed with titles and authors from the collection.

Far beyond the vision of the original, the renovation has included a 250 seat auditorium, coffee shop, multi-media studio and specialized spaces for teens and children. The City of St. Louis and Cannon Design group have taken Carnegie’s intention for enrichment and advancement of the neighborhood and the community served by this populist treasure and have not only restored its original intent, but has established a new benchmark for architectural landmarks in St. Louis.

 What: Exhibition and Lecture, Cannon Design/Central Library Project

 When: Thursday, December 5, 6:30-8:00 PM (On view through March 17, 2014)

 Where: CEL 635 Locust Street St. Louis, MO, 63101

For more information, contact Jasmin Aber, Executive Director, CEL (


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