Page 30 - College Planning & Management, November 2017
P. 30

Design Building, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Completed early this year, the Design Building at UMass Amherst is America’s first cross- laminated timber (CLT) academ- ic building, designed for LEED Gold certification. Conceived as a highly sustainable teaching tool, the project brings together the previously dispersed architec- ture, building and construction technology and landscape archi- tecture departments to promote synergized learning. “That drove our conception of a building with a center: an interior atrium that would represent coming togeth- er,” explains Leers Weinzapfel Principal Andrea Leers.
Clad in an envelope of copper- colored anodized aluminum pan- els and vertical windows, the De- sign Building is open on one side, allowing entrance through this large central commons, which is illuminated by skylights and sur- rounded by a multistory, glass- ensconced perimeter. “We de- signed it so all the offices, class- rooms and studios open into it,” Chung says, “to make you want to look at the other departments and what they’re doing.”
The atrium not only brings
TODAY, welcoming, light-filled, energy-efficient campus spaces that encourage social interaction as technological needs expand and sustainability and energy efficiency expectations grow are a must. “Universities are trying to get the most bang for their buck, in architecture as well as in furnishings and materials,” says Leers Weinzapfel Principal Tom Chung. “They want sustainable buildings because they’re less expensive to operate and be- cause students care. And they’re looking for spaces that are multi- functional, too.”
Leers Weinzapfel Associates
colleges and universities are seeking smarter, greener and more flexible facilities from the inside out.
by Brian Libby
(Boston), an AIA Firm of the Year, practices widely in higher educa- tion design, from chiller plants to classroom buildings, performing arts centers to research facilities. Nationwide, the firm notes that colleges and universities across the board now face the dual chal- lenge of attracting and nurturing the best and brightest students while budgets simultaneously contract, affecting building design as well as interiors.
Private sector spaces are also influencing academic interior design, according to Chung. “Different spaces have different expectations, but everything from the selection of the flooring and the furniture to wall surfaces can contribute toward a space that feels fresh and new,” he explains. “There are concrete floors, and exposed mechanical systems in the ceiling. Within that, you’ve got strategically placed feature ele- ments that provide pops of color and texture to tie it all together.”
Attentive to these challenges — and opportunities — two of Leers Weinzapfel’s recent projects, one new construction and the other a renovation, provide dynamic learning environments that reflect these trends.

   28   29   30   31   32