SustainabilityTargeted for LEED Gold
Bringing together the previously dispersed departments of Landscape Architecture, Architecture, and Building Technology programs, the new Design Building will be a dynamic space of exchange, collaboration, and experiment, celebrating a shared commitment to sustainability.
Located near the main entry to the campus on a sloping site, the building functions as a hinge between the formal 1975 Haigis Mall created by Kevin Roche, and the informal and intimate space of historic Stockbridge Way. The building serves as a pathway down the hill through the campus between the two precincts.
To create a center space of collaboration, a coiling and rising band of studios, faculty offices and classrooms surrounds a skylit Commons for gathering and presentations. Above the Commons, studios and offices embrace a contemplative green roof terrace, outdoor classroom, and experimental growing space for the landscape department. The slope of the site creates a tall four-story façade on the downhill side facing the mall inviting the community into the building. On the uphill side, a three-story façade fits comfortably among the smaller historic buildings.
The goals for the Design Building were to create an environment of collaborative research and teaching, to integrate the building with its landscape and campus open space system, and to celebrate a shared commitment to sustainability.
The building’s multi-disciplinary program, organized around an interior courtyard of exposed timber and an exterior landscaped courtyard and outdoor classroom, will foster collaboration across the disciplines of architecture, building technology, landscape architecture, and regional planning. With a glue-laminated wood frame, floor slabs of composite, exposed cross-laminate timber (CLT) plank and cast-in-place concrete, the Design Building will be a demonstration of leading-edge timber engineering; a concept informed by the school’s current research in building technology.
The Design Building will be a highly visible demonstration of sustainable design practice. Its exposed cross-laminated timber structure, the first of it’s kind in a university building in the northeast United States, was supported by the Massachusetts State Legislature as a demonstration project and, shepherded by the designer, was the first project to meet alternative code requirements for wood timber construction. The design is targeted for LEED Gold Certification.