Jesuit Archives and Research Center

St. Louis, MO

Client: Society of Jesus
Year Completed: 2017
Size: 15,700 SQ FT

With a history as missionaries, educators, explorers, and artists, this past differentiates The Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) from other Catholic orders. Due to documentation held within the Jesuit Archives in St. Louis and other offices throughout the country, the Jesuits chose to combine these materials in a new single-purpose facility in St. Louis.

Based on the concept of Collective Memory as a way societies connect the present and past to preserve social cohesion, the design creates a protective two-story structure supporting the past (archival storage) joined to a two-story volume representing the future (research and collaboration spaces). Demarcated by a single line bisecting the building east to west, the point where the two spaces connect (the present) culminates in a large, vertical stained-glass window. Opening up to the east, the ceiling includes a clerestory window and glass curtain wall along the street facade, beckoning the public inside. Large meeting rooms and exhibition spaces combine the scholarship of Jesuit history with reflections on current events.

The Jesuit Archives facility houses collections from the Central and Southern Provinces including Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Belize.

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