Southwest Concourse

Southwest Concourse

Project Overview

LEED Certification: N/A
Completed: September 2011
Architect/Engineer: Stephen Stimson Associates
Project Manager: Bruce Thomas

Project Purpose

The Southwest Concourse replacement project was a comprehensive revitalization of the pedestrian core that serves the 5,000-student Southwest Residential Area. The design strategy observed both the campus and the region to understand the broader project context.

A guiding goal for the redevelopment was to incorporate regional design influences to repopulate much of the landscape with its native plants and use the topography to promote more effective storm water management, while reducing maintenance. When the project was completed, the original landscape, which was comprised of 70% impervious hardscape, was reduced to just 40% hardscape, allowing 60% to be vegetated with native plant species. This overhaul provided the opportunity to pioneer a pilot project for UMass, to remove over 25 catch-basins for storm water, as well as hundreds of feet of sub-surface drainage piping. As an alternative to this system, the Stephen Stimson Associates introduced an attractive ultra-visible solution using bioswales and rain gardens.

The success of the project has prompted several accolades. In 2012, it was bequeathed the Award of Excellence for Design by the Boston Society of Landscape Architects, and in 2014 it received the Honor Award of Excellence from the Society for College and University Planning.

Sustainability Features

Water Management: On-site storm water management incorporates infiltration, porous pavers and reduced off-site discharge. Bioswales to collect, cleanse and filter storm water are also used to provide a highly-visible educational showcase of the methods used.

Maintenance Upgrades: In addition to re-structuring the pedestrian core, area-wide infrastructure upgrades, including utility upgrades, increased the total energy efficiency of the largest residential sector of the campus.

Materials: All decking is IPE, a sustainably harvested and durable hardwood. Recycled granite and other stones were also used throughout the project to reflect the materials of the region.

Native Vegetation: Native plants, including trees, shrubs various grasses and other perennials were re-introduced to the outdoor spaces. This also invites birds and other native creatures to re-populate the habitat.

Lighting Design: Energy efficient lighting was installed throughout the concourse.

Community Development: The arrangement of spaces was designed to encourage student interaction, and provide outdoor “rooms” for relaxation and study that interrupt the single flow of traffic.