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St. Louis Public Library Transformation

Cannon Design

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cwhitcomb, CannonDesign

Project Name

St. Louis Public Library Transformation

Project Status


Year Completed



St. Louis Public Library


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Project Description

Central Library, the crown jewel of the St. Louis Public Library system, closed its doors in 2010 for a two-year restoration and renewal of the historic 1912 Cass Gilbert designed building. The transformative effort ensures the landmark remains valuable to its century by increasing public access, modernizing the library and enhancing the building’s stature as a cultural treasure.

The North Wing truly ushers in the 21st century with the removal of old book stacks and the insertion of a newly constructed “building within the building.” A three story public atrium creates an accessible and welcoming entry, with new public spaces that include a 250-seat theater and teen rooms.

In total, the project has created more than 40,000 sf of new public space in the library. The building’s Great Hall and four public wings are restored and revitalized to their turn-of-the-century splendor. The library also now offers another entrance that opens the building up to other areas of downtown St. Louis community, further advancing its value to the city’s urban fabric.

Meticulously renovated historic spaces combined with a sensitive combination of new construction within the existing historic shell to create a marvelous set of experiences for visitors. – AIA/ALA Library Building Awards Jury

The revitalization of the St. Louis Public Library creates 40,000 new square feet of public space – a 45% increase.
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