Brought to you with support fromLocated on the outskirts of Amherst, Massachusetts is a new expansion for the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Isenberg School of Management. The building, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in collaboration with architect-of-record Goody Clancy, adds a new 70,000-square-foot study and social space for approximately 150 faculty members and 5,000 students. The massing of the extension resembles the imposing circular layout of an ancient amphitheater, swapping out the Roman arch or Greek pillar for facade-height strips of copper cladding and glass curtain. For the bulk of the enclosure, the copper-clad concrete piers rise perpendicular to the ground level, but ultimately stagger and fall atop each other in a domino-like effect. UMass Amherst is the flagship campus of Massachusett's state university system, and as a result, possesses a broad range of architectural styles and building scales. The Isenberg School of Management moved to its current site in 1964, a rectilinear three-story building defined by concrete and red brick. An extension was added to the southern elevation of the original building in 2003, and BIG's design effectively continues this trend of growth along the north elevation. According to BIG project leaders Yu Inamoto and Hung Kai Liao, "the conceptual move to create the building massing and space inside the Isenberg Business Innovation Hub was actually a rather simple one—a loop originating from, and connecting to, the existing building then stretching one point of that volume to create a multi-story space." Across the facade, each individual copper module is two-feet in width and the glass curtain three-and-a-half feet wide. In comparison to the rest of the extension where the copper panels are placed one atop the other, the far more visible eastern elevation is laid out in a diagonally pitched stretcher bond format. The panels themselves are clipped to aluminum rails fastened to a sheathing clad cold-formed framing structure produced by Ace Panel Worx. The primary stylistic flourish of the project is the domino-like effect found at the entrance of the building, a remarkably complex structural feature that remains visually consistent. "Even before they start to pitch, the depth of the pillars from the glass gradually increases," said Goody Clancy Senior Associate George Perkins. "The first few pitched pillars are framed with steel studs, but then structural steel tubes are introduced, and eventually steel trusses. The metal panels and joint locations had to negotiate this changing structural condition." For Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, who collaborated as facade consultant for the project, a detail of particular importance were the many of transitions present in the envelope. The copper, which only functions as cladding, is backed by an air and water barrier that is integrated into the glass system.
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In July 2018, Collective-LOK (CLOK) unveiled their Roche/Dinkeloo Double, a temporary installation located below a cantilevered section of UMass Amherst’s Fine Arts Center. CLOK is a collaboration formed by architects Jon Lott, William O’Brien Jr., and Michael Kubo. The Fine Arts Center, designed by firm Roche-Dinkeloo in 1975, is located on the border of UMass Amherst’s campus. According to architect Jon Lott, the structure was conceived as “a bridge to the Mass campus, operating as an entry point between the town of Amherst and the academy’s campus. An arcade of V-shaped pillars line the structure’s south and north elevations, supporting studio space above and providing glimpses of the campus’s central quadrangle. The Roche/Dinkeloo Double is a two-sided wooden frame, measuring 24 feet in all dimensions. To match the scale of the abutting concrete structure, CLOK bundled their Douglas Fir 2 x 4’s to effectively create 4 x 8 super studs. The wood-framed structure meets the corners of the V-shaped pillar, resulting in a diamond-shaped room. A walkway diagonally runs through the installation, embedding it within an actively-used campus thoroughfare. Drawing on the familiar vernacular of wood-framed construction, CLOK views their installation as questioning the relationship between Roche-Dinkeloo’s brutalist intervention and the largely Italianate and Colonial Revival character of the surrounding context. From within the installation, the view upward is sliced in two. Half of the structure is weighed down by a looming triangle of concrete, while the other faces the open sky. Past work by Collective-LOK includes Heart of Hearts, a circle of nine, ten-foot-tall golden hearts installed in Times Square in 2016, and the Van Alen Institute’s 2014 redesign. The installation is in place until October 2018.
Boston-based Leers Weinzapfel Associates recently completed construction of the new Design Building at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the first academic building in the U.S. to use a Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) as its primary structure. (See images of the building under construction here.) Targeted for LEED Gold, the building includes other sustainable architectural features like bio-swales for water runoff filtration, a green-roof which doubles as an outdoor classroom, and the largest installation of wood concrete composites in North America. The building is described by Principal Architect Andrea Leers as “a teaching tool for the design disciplines.” Leers made the case that educational environments, especially those for design school, can serve a pedagogical function in the training of young architects. Leer stated further that:
From my own teaching experience there’s nothing more potent than being able to talk with students about the space around you—in this case, the building’s collaborative configuration, innovative structure, considered material and detailing choices, environmentally-driven site, and synergistic landscape concepts that define the project.The building is organized around an interior atrium lit during the day by several skylights. This daylighting strategy reduces energy consumption and provides the school with a bright central space for exhibitions, design critiques, lectures, informal gatherings, and other events. The studios and classrooms are arranged around the atrium, visually connected to the commons through window apertures that allow visitors to glimpse the work being done by the students and faculty. The design of the building’s commons also emphasizes the unification of the university’s departments of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning, and the Building and Construction Technology program into one singular facility. In addition to its extensive use of wood products, the architects chose to clad the building with copper-finished aluminum panels that protect the highly-efficient envelope. Though the building fills much of the site, the landscape design by Stephen Stimpson Associates strategically uses native plants and local paving materials to connect the building to the larger campus. In the end, the building cost $52 million to construct, a price tag that was partially funded by Massachusetts State Legislature, and adds 87,500-square-feet of additional interior space to the university. Suffolk was the construction manager.
The University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst, about 100 miles west of Boston, will get a new multidisciplinary addition this fall. Boston-based Leers Weinzapfel Associates designed the UMass Design Building, set to open November 2016 in time for winter classes. It will unite the architecture, landscape architecture, regional planning, and building technology departments into one facility. The building is currently under construction. See our slideshow above and images below for exclusive construction photos (we've included a few renderings, too). When the project opens, it will be one of the largest mass timber structures in the United States. The building's interior will feature Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), an engineered wood known for its durability and lightness. Projects can use CLT to replace materials with higher embodied energy such as steel, concrete, and masonry. While it has been popular in Europe and Canada for some time, CLT is gaining traction in the United States, mostly on the west coast (one notable project is the Bullitt Center in Seattle). The 87,000 square foot Design Building will also rely on a glue-laminated wood frame, a wood composite floor, and a copper anodized aluminum building envelope. The facility will bring together over 500 students and 50 faculty across the four departments into a space that is transparent, open, and light-filled. The design features a lowered atrium with a zipper truss, an upper courtyard, and offices and classrooms rising in a coil, explained Andrea Leers, principal and co-founder of Leers Weinzapfel Associates. A major goal of the design was to help facilitate greater interaction between student and faculty. The firm put studios and offices on each floor, said Tom Chung, principal at Leers Weinzapfel. Yet there is also an element of independence, as studios on each level are at one end, while offices are at the other. The studios will be medium-sized, able to fit up to 5 sections. “UMass did not want a lecture hall,” Leers said. Instead, the ground floor—which has no predefined programming—includes stairs that double as seating for presentations and a flat floor for absorbing activities and other events. Also planned is a cafe, exhibit space, and libraries. The Design Building site is a sloped area on the southern part of the UMass campus between Stockbridge Way and Kevin Roche’s 1975 Haigis Mall. “It is a challenging site,” said Leers. The building will rise to four stories on one end and three stories on the uphill. The landscape design by Stephen Stimson Associates relies on a bioswale for water filtration. Leers Weinzapfel stressed the close connections between the exterior and interior, with the concept of building-as-landscape and landscape-as-building. In separate conversations with both Leers Weinzapfel architects and UMass building technology specialists, both emphasized the educational component of the Design Building—how the building itself would serve as a living instructional example. “We wanted this building from the early stages to be a teaching tool for advanced timber construction,” said Peggi Clouston, associate professor of building and construction technology at UMass Amherst. “The project uses CNC milled wood,” said Alex Schreyer, building construction and technology program director at UMass Amherst. “There are extremely tight tolerances. It’s innovative with these spans of 25, 26 feet.” But there are challenges to building in timber in the U.S. “The forests are in a state of decline. They are not properly managed, and weed species [smaller species] are choking out larger ones," said Clouston. These weed species are easy fuel for forest fires. The use of mass timber reflects the university’s roots in agriculture—the university was founded under the President Abraham Lincoln-signed 1862 Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act. The university was first called the Massachusetts Agricultural College. “It was a public process,” said Josiah Stevenson, principal at Leers Weinzapfel of the design. The total cost of the project is $52 million, with $36 million going toward construction. When it came to obtaining funding, the UMass's efforts were partially an “activist intervention,” Leers explained. UMass faculty went to the state legislature for funding, and spoke with former Massachusetts Congressman John Olver. He was taken with timber, said Clouston. Currently down the hill from the Design Building site is Wood on the Plaza, a white ash timber bridge shell installation at the Fine Arts Center Plaza. The architecture department will be moving out of its home in a Brutalist Kevin Roche building. The university will reuse the current architecture and building technology spaces, while razing the landscape department building, originally built as a dorm. You can find more Design Building information, construction photos and time-lapse videos online. The construction manager for the project is Suffolk Construction.