Central Library Wins ENR Midwest's Best Project of the Year Award

Central Library's new soaring atrium lobby

Central Library's new soaring atrium lobby

BSI Constructors is pleased to announce that the $70 million historic renovation and restoration of Central Library in downtown St. Louis was awarded ENR Midwest’s Best Project of the Year Award in the renovation/restoration category.   ENR Midwest serves Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and eastern Missouri.  The projects were reviewed and evaluated by a panel of industry professionals and were selected on the basis of design quality, construction quality, innovation, safety, and the ability of the project teams to overcome unique challenges.  

“It was a real challenge to pull off such a dramatic adaptation of this great building while maintaining and/or restoring each significant architectural feature to its original condition.  Many talented people worked very hard to make it happen and they are the true winners of this award.” Paul Shaughnessy, President, BSI Constructors 

Originally constructed in 1912, Central Library was designed by renowned American architect Cass Gilbert and spans a full city block bordered by Olive and Locust, and 13th and 14th Streets. It is considered one of the nation’s finest examples of Classic Revival architecture and has been transformed into a modern-day library. (View video at: http://slplfoundation.org/support/annual-giving/friends).

Today Central Library features a new Locust Street entrance, complete with a canopy and waterfall, and opens into a soaring atrium with a mezzanine, which once served as the system’s seven-story stack tower and housed the majority of the Library’s 4.7 million item collection. By relocating some administrative staff and materials off-site, SLPL was able to realize an 83 percent increase in space for public use.  The revitalized building includes a new Center for the Reader, expanded children’s and teen rooms, a new computer room, conference rooms, a café, and a new 250-seat auditorium carved out of lower level space originally used for coal furnaces and coal storage. SLPL’s new Creative Experience, adjacent to the new teen area, showcases new technologies and serves as one of the finest digital maker spaces in the St. Louis region. 

“This award is further recognition of the exceptional performance by BSI, Cannon, all the subcontractors and suppliers, and the hundreds of skilled craftsmen and women that worked on this project,” said Waller McGuire, the St. Louis Public Library’s Executive Director. “Central Library’s re-birth was made possible through the support of the taxpayers of St. Louis and region-wide support for our $20 million philanthropic Central To Your World capital campaign. And we continue to seek additional financial resources to help realize the full potential of technology and programming within Central.”

As a winning ENR Midwest project, Central Library will compete against winners from other U.S. regions in ENR’s National Best of the Best Projects 2013 Competition.  Moreover, the project will be profiled in the November 18th edition of ENR Midwest and honored at an awards ceremony November 22nd in Chicago, IL.