with Leers Weinzapfel Associates
The renovation of two 1930’s Residence Halls at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst modernizes, reconfigures and upgrades all common spaces, lobbies, lounges, and student rooms for international students on campus. It also creates new laundry spaces and classroom spaces within the shell of the existing buildings. This project serves as a pilot program for future Residence Hall renovations on the Northeast side of the campus.
The design goal was to emphasize the University’s new Residential Life Mission of fostering inclusive communities, creating social and educational opportunities, and providing safe and well-maintained residences. The design concept creates gathering and learning spaces of different sizes throughout the building. There are a series of wood “portals” at the core of the building which create a physical transition into the common areas. The basement common rooms and first floor living rooms also feature a thick wood wrapper at the perimeter of the rooms. This wrapper carves out spaces in public zones, which include the kitchen and seating areas, to create visual continuity. Light wood paneling is held back from the ceiling. Suspended white ceilings create the illusion of higher spaces and allow for a maximum amount of natural daylight. Bright accents in the furniture compliment the lightness of the building materials.