July 2016 / Blog

South College Academic Facility Tour at UMass Amherst

Published July 21, 2016 in

A few weeks ago, Andrew, Thom and I toured the South College Academic Facility at UMass Amherst with a group of other Western Mass AIA Emerging Professionals. This project involves the renovation of an 1885 building and a new 67,000 sf addition which, together, will create new instructional and office space for The College of Humanities and Fine Arts. Designed by Kliment Halsband Architects out of New York City, the new addition better connects two axes on the campus and strengthens the objectives of the campus master plan. The new addition sits in the crook of the L-shaped 19th century building and extends backwards towards Hicks Way. At the convergence of the two spaces there is a three story atrium that is the highlight of the entire building. Standing here you can see the old brick exterior of the original building on one side and the new addition on the other. The vision for this space is that the white steel will be painted a dark green and the white wall will be covered in wood that extends almost all the way through the building. On the floors above there is almost always a view to the central atrium and therefore visitors can get their bearings at any location in the building. The atrium is filled with natural light from the glass roof and it really creates a great atmosphere.

One of my favorite features of this project is how they used materials to link the old with the new. Originally the 1885 building had a slate roof that was later replaced with an asphalt one. Kliment Halsband Architects returned the roof back to its former glory and also used more slate on the new addition but this time on the façade. This creates a great balance on the exterior and relates the new addition to the original building but without duplication.

South College Academic Facility is estimated to be completed in 2017. 

- Shannon Haley