Jesuit Archives and Research Center

Saint Louis, MO

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

The Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) has a long history as missionaries, educators, explorers and artists. This history is central to their understanding of what makes a Jesuit different from other Catholic orders. In America Jesuits like Peter DeSmet were central to shaping a new land into what would eventually become our 50 united states. Much of this history is stored at the Jesuit Archives in St. Louis and other province offices within the US.

In 2016, the Jesuits decided to bring much of this material to a single, purpose built facility in St. Louis. Fox was selected as the architects of this building.

This project is based on the concept of Collective Memory as the way societies connect the present and past to preserve social cohesion. The idea is to create a protective two-story block representing the past (archival storage) joined to a two story volume of research and collaboration spaces representing the future. The place where they meet (the present) is demarked by a single line bisecting the building east to west and culminating in a large, vertical stained glass window. The ceiling opens up to the east, forming a large clerestory window along the street façade and beckoning the public to visit. Large meeting rooms and exhibition spaces will combine scholarship of Jesuit history with response to current day events. The new Jesuit Archives facility will house 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. The estimated date of completion is late 2017.

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