Leers Weinzapfel Associates - University of Massachusetts Design Building
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University of Massachusetts Design Building

Leers Weinzapfel Associates

Education  /  Future
Leers Weinzapfel Associates
Bringing together the previously dispersed departments of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (LARP), Architecture + Design (A+D) and Building Construction Technology (BCT) programs, the new Integrated Design Building occupies a pivotal site on the University of Massachusetts campus in rural western Massachusetts.
The goals for the IDB were to create an environment of collaborative research and teaching, to integrate the building with its landscape and campus open space system, and to celebrate a shared commitment to sustainability. The creation of a common center where students and faculty gather for organized and informal activity and can look between studios and shops is key to the university’s collaborative goals.
Located near the main entry to the campus, the building functions as a hinge between the formal Haigis Mall created by Kevin Roche containing the Fine Arts Center of 1975, and the informal and intimate space of the historic campus- Stockbridge Way- home to the Studio Arts programs. The building serves as a pathway through the campus with entries from both Stockbridge Way and N. Pleasant Street.

The new Design Building will incorporate a hybrid structural system of cross-laminated timber and concrete that includes some steel components. The project is made up of glulam columns and beams with cross-laminated timber (CLT) slabs and core walls. CLT acts like plywood but on a much larger scale. The panels are made from dried lumber glued together and stacked at right angles to create a strength as strong as steel. On the Design Building, the CLT panels have 5 -layers for slabs and 7-layers for the core “shear” walls, for lateral structural support.

The building’s multi-disciplinary program, organized around an interior courtyard of exposed timber and an exterior landscaped courtyard and outdoor classroom, will foster collaboration across the disciplines of architecture, building technology, landscape architecture, and regional planning. With a glue-laminated wood frame, floor slabs of composite, exposed cross-laminate timber (CLT) plank and cast-in-place concrete, the IDB will be a demonstration of leading-edge timber engineering; a concept informed by the school’s current research in building technology.

The IDB will incorporate a high-performance metal-clad building envelope integrated with a landscape that makes extensive use of native plants and paving materials. The project is intended to demonstrate both the latest sustainable design practice and be a model for the integration of landscape and architecture for the entire campus. The landscape development includes a palette of native plant and stone materials to create an active storm water management system for the site. Above the Commons, a green roof garden reduces the heat island effect, slows storm water run- off, and provides a cloistered environment enjoyed by the studios and faculty offices. The building form, on the one hand, is compact thereby reducing the building envelope and heat loss, while on the other, allowing all occupied spaces to have generous natural light and views to the campus. The design is targeted for LEED Gold Certification and is scheduled for completion in 2017.


 Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
 The University of Massachusetts
 8082.5645 mq
 Leers Weinzapfel Associates
 Andrea Leers, Josiah Stevenson, Tom Chung, Jeffrey Fishbein, Juliet Chung, Taehoon Lee


Leers Weinzapfel Associates is a Boston based firm with national design distinction. Our work lies at the intersection of architecture, urban design, and infrastructure. Recognized for our inventiveness in dramatically complex commissions, we meet these challenges with uncommon design clarity, elegance, and refinement.
Widely recognized with over 90 national and regional awards, our work has been published worldwide and exhibited nationwide. In 2007, the American Institute of Architects honored us with the Firm Award, the highest distinction the AIA bestows on an architecture practice.

Our firm is led by a close knit group of individuals whose vision, skills, and dedication shape its core values. Founding Principals Andrea Leers and Jane Weinzapfel together with Principals Josiah Stevenson and Tom Chung share overall guidance of the firm.

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