The Design Building is the new home of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (LARP), and Building and Construction Technology. Bringing these three disciplines together under one roof was a historic move that provides unprecedented opportunities for integrated learning about the built environment. For the past decade, the site was an expansive parking lot and contributed to the siltation of the campus pond. The same landscape was the location of the test plots for LARP in the early 1900s. The need to restore a functioning ecosystem and the expression of horticultural experimentation were paramount to the design.
The landscape makes connections, within the campus itself and with the larger regional context. The northern edge of the building has created a significant east-west pedestrian route through campus. The site is also a bridge between the older 19th- and early 20th-century parts of campus and the more recent mid-20th century Modernist buildings. The site carefully links these areas with a new design vocabulary based on the geological and natural history of the larger regional context.
With exposed timber frame construction in the architecture, regionally inspired gardens, site-harvested stormwater, and an experimental green roof, the project has set a new ecological and creative standard for campus design at UMass.
Stephen Stimson Associates Landscape Architects; also Leers Weinzapfel; Nitsch Engineering; Pine and Swallow; Aqueous Consulting; Stephen A. Roberts Landscape Construction