The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Partnership with Kestrel Land Trust

Architecture Research Collaborative




Event Date


Organizing Team:

Ray Mann, Kestrel Land Trust, and students: Brenden Baitch, Stephen Fink, Nate Kraus-Malett, Tara Pearce, Morgan Sawyer, Connor Slover, Elain Tang, Andrew Weuling.


Partnership with Kestrel Land Trust

Associate Professor Ray Mann's Spring 2019 Graduate Studio 2 partnered with the Kestrel Land Trust to brainstorm possible renovations strategies for their newly acquired property on Bay Road in south Amherst.  Known as the Epstein House, the sound, but rambling former residence needs a substantial makeover to become the new headquarters for the dynamic conservation non-profit. The structure sits in a bucolic, wooded setting overlooking a magnificent pond with direct views of the Holyoke Range. Over the course of five weeks, the eight students analyzed the site, measured and modeled the building, and explored ideas about how the building might be retrofitted or altered while also creating a new identity that would not only improve space usage but reflect the organization's values. Sustainably-based strategies included creating work spaces with good access to natural light, ventilation and views; indoor/outdoor spaces for both visitation and work; shaping outdoor spaces for a welcoming arrival, gardens, and accessible pathways around the site.
Landscape Architecture Lecturer Jane Thurber provided expertise for the challenging site, and Boston-based alumna Rachel Beesen (M.Arch '17) offered many helpful insights as well.  The Kestrel Land Trust members were highly impressed by the students’ accomplishments, and the ideas and work generated will substantively help them in their next stage of fund-raising.