Living & Learning by the Woods

Westfield’s campus is located in a wooded area on the edge of the Berkshire Hills. The project site was located near adjacent woods and on the corner of the University quad around which the entire campus is organized. The volume of the residence facility is divided into two large blocks. The first volume addresses the quad with an enormous “grand arch” feature, welcoming students to the complex and the natural environment around the site. University-wide functions fill the ground level, while each of the four residential floors above contains social lounges and quiet “perch” lounges overlooking the quad below. The materials and coloring of the building complement its natural surroundings.

The units within the residence hall are defined as semi-suites – shared living spaces which, while they do not include kitchens, do have refrigerators and microwaves. Students meals are served by a nearby dining common. Each of the suites will have room for four to six students. Four student suites will have one bathroom, and the six student suites will have two bathrooms. Constructed with environmentally-friendly materials and mechanical systems throughout, the hall provides significant energy and water savings, and is designed to meet the standards for a LEED Silver certification. The new facility provide the added benefit of freeing up space for renovations at other university buildings.

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A Dramatic Display of Sustainability

A Dramatic Display of Sustainability & Material Research

Amherst, Massachusetts

With an opening in January 2017, the Design Building exemplifies UMass Amherst’s commitment to sustainability and innovative design, and the value of integrating the architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and green building design programs into one facility.

The first and largest cross laminated timber (CLT) academic building in the United States, the Design Building houses classrooms and studios, computer labs, materials-testing, green-building and digital fabrication laboratories, a wood shop, and an outdoor working area. Collaborative spaces include a cafe, exhibit space, library and function spaces.

The project was designed to achieve the Governor’s Executive Order 484 mandated “MA LEED Plus” accreditation level and the University’s minimum LEED accreditation level of Gold, with a possibility of Platinum, together with a focus on minimizing energy use.

The building’s innovative design has garnered many awards and honors, including being named one of the best new buildings of 2017 by the Wall Street Journal and voted the 2017 World Architects U.S. Building of the Year. The project was also honored with an Award of Merit in the Engineering News-Record (ENR) list of New England’s 2017 Best Projects in the Higher Education / Research category and an Honor Award for Design Excellence by the Boston Society of Architects.

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