SMU Bridwell Library Renovations


2020 | On-going

Southern Methodist University

Architectural firm:
Selzer Associates


Geisler Pender Personnel Provided Services:
Structural Engineering
Forensic Engineering
Repair & Strengthening

RLG Consulting Engineers, including Kristina F. Geisler-Nordholm as part of the team lead by Selzer Associates, provided structural engineering, civil engineering, surveying, forensics, and repair and strengthening services for the renovation of the existing Bridwell Theological Library.   The library holds significant religious documents and artifacts and has space for displaying items. One of the primary uses of the building is for theology doctoral students to work on research and the new design will provide quiet places for study and reflection.

The building was constructed in multiple phases between 1950 and 1972 with a previous renovation in 1988.  The original portion of the existing library building, which is the primary area of renovation consists of a structural concrete basement floor over a crawlspace and upper levels that are steel columns and beams encased in concrete with concrete slab floors.

A significant challenge of the project is the tight floor to floor heights.  The renovation includes partial removal of an existing mezzanine which had 7’-6” floor to floor heights.  The architectural vision included opening up the mezzanine to create additional volume at the main entry of the library  The partial removal of the mezzanine included eliminating 5 columns that were supporting portions of the 2nd floor where the structure was not modified. The design includes strengthening of existing steel and concrete structure to transfer the load from the removed columns to existing foundations.