On Friday, October 16th, 2015, UMass campus officials, local politicians, faculty and students celebrated a belated “ground-breaking” for the new UMass Design Building. This event was covered by the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the Republican, and WWLP. UMass University Relations also produced the video shown below, in which the chancellor and the three program and department leaders elaborate on their vision for this new collaborative academic space.

We in BCT are of course tremendously proud of the fact that this building will be the most technologically advanced heavy-timber structure in the eastern US, which makes it a showcase for sustainable building with wood in the region and far beyond. It even includes wood-concrete composite technology that was researched right here in our program by Peggi Clouston et al.

In a steel-dominated construction environment, this would not have been possible without the vision and support of many people. Those include BCT faculty Peggi Clouston and Alex Schreyer, former congressman John Olver, state representatives Stan Rosenberg and Ellen Story, and UMass administration with chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy at the fore.

We are looking forward to moving into the building in January 2017 with our colleagues and friends in Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. At that time, we will be able to enjoy as sustainable features not only the wood structure, but also the building envelope and systems, its rain gardens and green roof, and its beautiful day-lit spaces (including a cafe if budget permits).

You can find images of the event in the official UMass album and on our own BCT Facebook album. We also have more images, plans and project updates on our site here.