John W. Olver Design Building wins American Architecture Award in Schools and Universities
The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design recently awarded The John W. Olver Design Building the 2018 American Architecture Award® in the category of School and Universities.

Leers Weinzapfel Associates was awarded, amongst other American architects in the U.S. and abroad and international architects, for best new buildings designed and built in the United States. The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design notes, the 100 buildings chosen for this award “pay tribute to the new developments in design and underscores the directions and understanding of current cutting-edge processes consistent with today’s design thinking”. Read more here.

Leers Weinzapfel Associates Wins 2nd Place in Hsinta Ecological Power Plant Competition

Out of five finalists announced in January, Leers Weinzapfel Associates placed second for their design of the Hsinta Ecological Power Plant in Taiwan. The project is part of the Taiwan Power Company’s objective to update the country’s current electricity supply system and to realize nuclear-free homes by the year 2025. The “Hista Plan” addresses the need to decommission and replace existing power generation facilities with gas combined-cycle units, boosts green energy production, and reduces CO2 emission and pollution, among other sustainability objectives.

The competition team included Ground; ecoscope; and SMALL

Watch a video of Leers Weinzapfel’s design here, more information here.

Tom Chung Keynote Speaker in Maine Wood Conference

Tom Chung, Principal, was the Keynote speaker at the Maine Wood + Sustainability Conference in Portland, ME on May 9th.  Tom presented a case study on the award-winning University of Massachusetts-Amherst John W. Olver Design Building and stressed why timber is so important right now for buildings and what Maine’s role is in that importance.

The conference aimed to explore the opportunities and challenges of creating a more sustainable Maine wood-based economy and discussed best practices on how to create a more sustainable built environment by using wood products.

AIA Maine, Passivhaus Maine, and Local Wood WORKS have partnered to bring architects, engineers, wood products manufacturers, builders and policy makers together to learn, discuss, and find ways to work together to keep Maine at the forefront of these new opportunities.

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.