Washington University In St. Louis, Hillman Hall

St. Louis, Mo, USA

This project provided Washington University in St. Louis with the opportunity to design and construct a new building to house the Brown School of Social Work, allowing the University to fully realize its vision to create positive social change.


The project involved expanding the faculty, research and training facilities across approximately 110,000ft², while attaining a 30% reduction in energy use in the process.

The University emphasized that the health and wellbeing of the School’s occupants is of greatest importance, reflecting their core values of transparency, health, diversity, integration, inclusivity, inspiration and sustainability.

The University wanted the new School to reflect its core values of transparency, diversity, inclusivity, inspiration and sustainability. Image: Gabe Guilliams / Buro Happold


Buro Happold worked with the rest of the design team to achieve the client’s brief by creating a fully integrated design that will ensure the highest levels of environmental and social responsibility. Early on in the project we introduced the Living Building Challenge (LBC) framework to enable us to track and align these goals throughout our work. The project has achieved LEED Platinum certification.

As improved indoor environmental quality was a key priority for the project, our team undertook extensive preliminary modeling that resulted in us being able to develop strategies that brought overall savings on building cooling loads. These included the implementation of the first under floor air distribution system in North America, which includes in-floor chilled beams to create uniform, superior air quality throughout the building in a highly cost effective way.

We used the Living Building Challenge Framework to help us to align our designs with these goals, and realize a LEED Platinum building. Image: Gabe Guilliams / Buro Happold


The new Hillman Hall provides the optimum environment for faculty and students to fulfill their mission of teaching, learning and researching collaboratively. It also raises the sustainability bar across the campus, and the wider region, making it an exciting and important initiative to have been involved with.


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