UMass Amherst Modernist Architecture Subject of Lunchtime Lecture Series
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
“Brut” Bites, a series of lunchtime lectures on UMass Amherst’s modernist architecture, will take place each Monday at 12 noon April 19 - May 3 on Zoom.
The series explores the modernist architecture of several campus buildings, including the Southwest Residential Area and the Ralph W. Bromery Center for the Arts. The series includes:
April 19: The History and Cultures of the Southwest Residential Complex
Speaker: Timothy M. Rohan
Description: Completed in 1968, the towers of the Southwest Residential Complex have made a big impact on our local landscape. What is the history of this large complex, which can house up to 5,500 students? What does it tell us about modern architecture, the campus, the community, and the region in the 1960s and after? How did its diverse communities create their own unique cultures within this “big city”-like environment?
April 26: Unbuilt UMass: A History of Campus Master Plans
Speaker: Ludmilla Pavlova-Gillham
Description: The UMass campus is familiar to many, but was it always going to look the way it does today? How has the campus been envisioned over time? What forces and priorities shaped the plans that we recognize today, and what other plans were never realized? Peek inside the history of campus master plans with senior campus planner Ludmilla Pavlova-Gillham to explore the evolving vision for the UMass Amherst campus from its beginning to the present.
May 3: The History of the Randolph W. Bromery Fine Arts Center
Speakers: L. Carl Fiocchi and Margaret Vickery
Description: Since its founding in 1975, The Randolph W. Bromery Center for the Arts (formerly Fine Arts Center) has been a central force in the cultural, social and academic life of the town of Amherst, the university, the Five College campuses and the Pioneer Valley. This uncompromisingly modern concrete building consists of several distinctly different units which are combined to form a powerful architectural sculpture. It was conceived as a gateway to the campus at the south end of the pond and its monumental arcade serves as a pedestrian link between the east and west campus on what was formerly Ellis drive. The complex contributes to both positive and negative perception of Brutalist concrete buildings and its history is marred with celebrations as well as expressions of discontent.
The presenters will discuss the history of its development and address the myths and perceptions related to its aesthetic and environmental appeal (and lack thereof). The audience will be invited to share memories of its impact on life in Amherst and the surrounding community.
Ludmilla Pavlova-Gillham, AIA, is a senior campus planner at UMass Amherst and is responsible for facilities and urban planning to support the comprehensive planning and design activities of the campus.
Timothy M. Rohan is an associate professor in the department of the history of art & architecture at UMass Amherst. His research and writing focuses on modernism, especially of the post-World War II era, but he is interested in the architecture of all times and places. His book on architect Paul Rudolph -- the architect who designed the campus at UMass Dartmouth -- examines the work of one of the most important modernist architects of the mid- and late-twentieth century. Tim is especially interested in the buildings, landscapes and peoples of New England.
Margaret Vickery, Ph.D., is a lecturer and undergraduate program director for the history of art and architecture department at UMass Amherst. In addition to her interest in this history of Brutalism as seen on the UMass campus, her scholarship ranges from the architecture of women's colleges in the U.K. and U.S., to the intersections of infrastructure, architecture, landscape, and recreation.
L. Carl Fiocchiis a lecturer and the coordinator of the professional master program in the department of environmental conservation. Most recently, his longtime interest and expertise in high performance energy efficient buildings has come to focus on Modernist architecture and its subset, Brutalism.
A component of the UMass Brut initiative is an oral history project recording memories, opinions, and reflections about the modernist buildings on campus. If you would like to be included, share written stories, or suggest topics for future talks, please consider filling out this survey.
This lecture series is presented by the Amherst Historical Society and Museum, the Jones Library, UMass Brut, and the UMass Public History Program.