Book Talk: Welcoming the West with Andrea Leers FAIA

Join Andrea Leers on May 30th at the BSA Space where she will share her study of and reflections on the commingling of Japan’s architectural traditions and Western hotel influences.

Andrea’s new book, Welcoming the West: Japan’s Grand Resort Hotels, focuses on the history and design of six of Japan’s grand resort hotels: the Nara, the Fujiya, the Nikko Kanaya, the Fuji View, the Biwako, and the Gamagori.

Following Andrea’s comments, a reception with light refreshments will take place, and books will be available for purchase.  Details below:


May 30, 2018 | 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Price: Free and open to the public
Where: BSA Space, 290 Congress Street, Boston

Trendspotting: Welcome to the Ever-Trending World of Mass Timber

School Construction News featured the University of Arkansas Stadium Drive Residence Halls in their April issue.

“The desire to use mass timber was fundamental from the inception of the project to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, to create a warm and inviting living environment, and to support the statewide agenda for forestry development,” said Andrea P. Leers, FAIA, principal at Boston-based Leers Weinzapfel Associates, which led a national design collaborative that also included Modus Studio (Fayetteville, Ark.), Mackey Mitchell Architects (St. Louis) and OLIN (Philadelphia).

Read the full article here.

District Energy on Display
Harvard District Energy Facility Published in College Planning & Management

College Planning & Management featured the Harvard University District Energy Facility (DEF) in their April issue. Authored by Jane Weinzapfel FAIA, the new facility will set the stage for a state-of-the-art, cost-effective, and sustainable utility generation and distribution system for Harvard’s growing Allston, MA, campus and make a significant contribution to its urban design. Representing an innovative and highly efficient infrastructure typology—the cogeneration plant—the DEF will be completed in 2019.

Read the fill article here

New Book by Andrea Leers
"Welcoming the West: Japan's Grand Resort Hotels"

Available now, “Welcoming the West: Japan’s Grand Resort Hotels” the latest book by Principal Andrea Leers focuses on the history and design of six of these grand resort hotels: the Nara, the Fujiya, the Nikko Kanaya, the Fuji View, the Biwako, and the Gamagori. Built at a pivotal moment when Japan’s architectural traditions were latent with change and possibility, they are a manifestation of an unprecedented exchange of ideas wrought in timber, stone, and concrete.

“The story of Japan’s grand resort hotels is the story of the first exuberant contact between a broad spectrum of Western travelers and their Japanese hosts,” Leers writes.

Since opening its shores to the outside world in the late nineteenth century, Japan has sustained an active relationship of cultural exchange with the West. Japan’s grand resort hotels, built during the era between the Restoration of the Meiji Emperor in 1868 until the onset of war in the late 1930s, are some of the most engaging and enduring examples of this cross-fertilization. Eager to champion both its national identity and its status as a modern nation, Japanese hoteliers looked to adapt Western hotel standards to the aesthetic and cultural demands of the Japanese archipelago. With their buildings they provided glamorous settings in which worldly Japanese and curious Westerners could mingle. The grand hotels are romantic hybrids of Beaux Arts grandeur and Japanese temple and shrine motifs, and offer the pleasures of both architectural traditions. They straddle two worlds, being both familiar and exotic to visitors and locals alike.

Book launch events and signings will be held on May 8th at the Japan Institute of Architects in Tokyo and on May 30th in Boston, co-sponsored by Japan Society of Boston and the Boston Society of Architects.”

John W. Olver Design Building is 2017 Building of the Year

The John W. Olver Design Building at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been voted the 2017 World Architects U.S. Building of the Year.


The U.S. Building of the Year poll received more than 4,000 votes for nearly 50 Buildings of the Week from 2017. The first-place John W. Olver Design Building won by a large margin, with about 30% of the total votes.  Read about it here

The Design Building is the largest cross laminated timber (CLT) academic building in the US and is the first LEED Platinum Certified building on the Amherst campus.


Leers Weinzapfel Finalists in Hsinta Ecological Power Plant Competition

Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) announced on Saturday a shortlist of design proposals for its new ecological power plant in Kaohsiung and invited the public to vote for their favorite work on the project website. Five firms will move forward in the design competition and present full design ideas on how the current power plant can best change its current electricity generation systems in accordance with the government’s policies to eliminate nuclear power and eventually generate 20 percent of the country’s electricity through green energy by 2025.  Read more here


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).