Jesuit Archives and Research Center

Saint Louis, MO

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

Possessing a history as missionaries, educators, explorers, and artists, this storied past differentiates The Society of Jesus (The Jesuits) from other Catholic orders. With documentation scattered between the Jesuit Archives in St. Louis and other offices throughout the country, the Jesuits chose to house 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 block representing the past (archival storage) conjoined 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 forms a large clerestory window along the street façade, 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.

Back to Projects