WashU Spaces: Holmes Lounge

To tour Holmes Lounge, hover over the image. (Photos: James Byard/Washington University)

Before Holmes Lounge was home to the Jazz at Holmes concert series and the world’s best carved turkey sandwiches, it was Ridgley Library, home to the university’s reference collection. And before that, it was a ballroom where bigwigs from across the globe toasted the 1904 World’s Fair.

“I love history, and there are few places on this campus with more history than Holmes Lounge,” said Kellie Mandry, assistant director for facilities for Campus Life at Washington University in St. Louis.

Mandry keeps the spaces where the campus community studies and celebrates functional and beautiful. (Photo: James Byard/Washington University)

Mandry’s job is to keep the places where we study, collaborate and celebrate both functional and beautiful. This summer, that meant refreshing the Women’s Building Formal Lounge and installing a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in Graham Chapel, a daunting endeavor that required workers to drill a 3-foot deep, 28-inch diameter hole into one of the turrets.

“The crew had to mount a 500-pound drill bit, by hand, over their heads,” Mandry said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Considerably less dangerous — and way more fun — was installing new furniture and carpeting in Holmes Lounge. The result: the campus’ coziest destination is even cozier.

“The warmth of the wood, the glow of the lighting, the rich tones of the furniture — it all works together,” Mandry said. “Holmes is that rare space that can transform and be whatever you need it to be, whether that is a place to meet a friend or host a special event.”

For the latest edition of WashU Spaces, Mandry offers a tour of Holmes and shares what has changed and what will, forever, remain the same.

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