2017

The Best Architecture of 2017: Buildings of Quiet Ambition
The John W. Olver Design Building at UMass Amherst has been included in the Wall Street Journal's "Best Architecture of 2017".

Source: Wall Street Journal

Aspirational plays for iconic status can miss the mark. The standout buildings completed over the past 12 months were instead notable for focusing on concrete needs, not dazzling form. Long-term planning and a smart use of innovation served a purpose.

In March, the 2017 Timber Innovation Act was introduced in Congress to support research into using wood for structures over 85 feet tall. Considerable research already shows how composites such as cross-laminated and glue-laminated timber can be more sustainable, fire resistant, lightweight and seismically viable than concrete or steel. The new John W. Olver Design Building at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, designed by Boston-based Leers Weinzapfel Associates, is a forerunner. At only four stories, it’s no timber skyscraper, but it is the first cross-laminated timber academic building in the country, housing the university’s architecture, landscape and building technology departments.

… its interiors radiate with the saturated warmth long associated with woodwork. Here it’s engineered wood used in exposed beams, columns, braces, ceilings—even the stairwells and elevator shafts. For the flooring, an innovative wood and concrete composite developed right on campus is used here for the first time. The Design Building is helping to lay the foundations for the smart use of mass timber in ways that will soon enrich, and transform, our built environment.

Read the full article here

Leers Weinzapfel included in ARCHITECT 50

For the third year in a row, Leers Weinzapfel Associates has been recognized by ARCHITECT Magazine as one of the Top 50 firms for design in the U.S. as part of the 2017 ARCHITECT 50 list. The annual ARCHITECT 50 program ranks the best architecture firms in the U.S. based on design excellence, sustainability, and business performance.

This year Leers Weinzapfel Associates was ranked 33rd Overall, 26th in Business, and 26th in Sustainability.  To view the full list, click here

ARCHITECT magazine is the official publication of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

OSU Chiller featured in Architectural Review

As part of Architectural Review’s 2017 Women in Architecture, Architect of the Year shortlist, the The Ohio State University East Regional Chilled Water Plant has been featured in the March 2017 issue of Architectural Review. The publication says of the building “The project is an elegant approach to a functional building which uses perforated aluminum panels to achieve a refined aesthetic plant”. 

The Women in Architecture Awards celebrate great female architects and look to create role models for young women in practice.

Read the full article here:

UMass Amherst Design Building featured in ARCHITECT
The first mass-timber structure on the East Coast utilizes several new technologies, some of which were developed by the institution's own faculty.

ARCHITECT Magazine has featured the Design Building at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, highlighting its innovative zipper truss, in the March 2017 issue.

The Design Building is currently the first and largest mass-timber academic structure on the East Coast, and became the first project to use several cutting-edge building technologies, including a “zipper truss” and a composite floor system developed by the school’s faculty. It is also  one of only two buildings in the U.S. to use timber for every major structural system.

In keeping with the building’s pedagogical mission, all its structural systems are exposed: the glue-laminated post-and-beam structure, CLT shear wall cores, composite concrete-and-CLT floor plates, and the custom steel-and-glulam zipper trusses, named for the way they converge multiple structural members to a single point.  Read the full article here

Women in Architecture Awards 2017 Shortlist

Andrea Leers and Jane Weinzapfel have been jointly shortlisted for Architectural Review’s Women in Architecture, 2017 Architect of the Year Award. This annual award recognizes excellence in design with an emphasis on a built project completed in 2016.

Christine Murray, founder of the Women in Architecture Awards and editor-in-chief of The Architectural Review and The Architects’ Journal, said about the shortlists:

“These women architects are creating some of the most innovative and creative design work in the world today. It is a privilege to celebrate work from a broad range of countries – showing how great design touches all our lives.”

Leers and Weinzapfel were recognized for their work on the Ohio State University East Regional Chilled Water Plant. Of the project, the jury noted “The project is an elegant approach to a functional building which uses perforated aluminium panels to achieve a refined aesthetic”.

The winners of the prestigious awards will be announced at the AJ/AR Women in Architecture Luncheon at Claridge’s on 3 March.

To read more about the shortlist and awards program, click here

2016

Leers Weinzapfel on ARCHITECT 50

Leers Weinzapfel Associates has been recognized by ARCHITECT Magazine as one of the Top 50 firms for design in the U.S. as part of the 2016 ARCHITECT 50 list. The annual ARCHITECT 50 program ranks the best architecture firms in the U.S. based on design excellence, sustainability, and business performance. To view the full list, click here

ARCHITECT magazine is the official publication of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

UMass Amherst Design Building to be Featured in National Building Museum Exhibit
The upcoming exhibition at the National Building Museum aims to dispel myths about the use of structural wood in construction

Steel and reinforced concrete have long been the predominant construction materials for commercial buildings worldwide, but in the past five years, mass timber construction has rapidly gained viability as an alternative. Engineered wood products, which include cross-laminated timber (CLT), nail-laminated timber, and glue-laminated (glulam) structural members, have attracted interest for their high strength-to-weight ratios, comparatively lower embodied energy, and innate ability to sequester carbon.

In September, mass-timber construction will become the centerpiece of “Timber City,” an exhibition at the National Building Museum (NBM), in Washington, D.C., that will look at the evolving industry and its role in improving rural manufacturing communities and its benefit to urban centers.  The Design Building, built with mass timber, will be a featured project of the exhibit, which opens September 17th.  Watch a clip of the building in construction here.

“Timber City” will run from Sept. 17, 2016, to May 21, 2017, at the National Building Museum.

Irene Kang Promoted to Associate

Irene Kang, AIA joined Leers Weinzapfel in 2007 and has been a pivotal member of the design team on many complex projects. She is a highly dedicated and committed project architect and was most recently involved on the award winning Oak and Laurel Hall Classroom Buildings, at the University of Connecticut and on the Salem State University Sophia Gordon Performing Arts Complex. Irene is currently leading the design of the UMass Amherst North Chilled Water Plant. She received a Bachelor of Art in Architecture from Yale University and a Master of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.