New UMass Design Building Provides Students With Original Opportunities By Ryan Donovan

For years, University of Massachusetts Amherst students studying in the Building and Construction Technology (BCT) program have been without a home.

That is no longer the case.

As of January 2017, the Design Building located on North Pleasant Street in Amherst, Mass (MA) has become the hub for BCT program students including classrooms and studios to a wood shop, digital fabrication lab, and outdoor work space.

The outdoor work space on the third floor of the Design Building allows students to enjoy fresh air while studying. The area also includes a garden space and a lighting system that turns on at dusk. Thursday, March 30, 2017. Amherst, Massachusetts.

Students like junior architecture major Coleman Barnes who will become one of our future home builders and designers now has a new home he can be proud of.

The 87,500 square foot building has a unique construction built using primarily heavy timber. Much of the research, including the wood-concrete system the building uses throughout, was researched on campus by the BCT program themselves.

The system is not only cost-effective in comparison to using solely concrete, but provides a sounder structure through a highly efficient use of materials simultaneously reducing its carbon footprint.

The spider tress design that includes timber and steel holds the roof of the Design Building up. Thursday, March 30, 2017. Amherst, Massachusetts.

There are also numerous sustainability components to the building from LED lighting, motion sensors, and electro-tinting glass to rain gardens, and ample daylighting.

Before, many BCT students like Barnes took classes in other buildings on campus like the Fine Arts Center. However, these buildings lacked the necessary resources and materials needed to succeed at a professional level.

Studios (top right, bottom) and computer labs (top left) provide BCT students unique spaces allow to be hands on when designing and engineering. Thursday, March 30, 2017. Amherst, Massachusetts.

“There would be times I didn’t have the resources I needed to complete a project the way I though it should be done,” Barnes said.

Today, students in the BCT program are taking advantage of the Design Building and the new opportunities it provides.

Barnes is in the building daily between class, studying, and designing, which he says has finally provided him the tools for true success.

Whether it’s getting a coffee at the cafe, studying in the indoor courtyard, or performing an experiment in the green-building lab, BCT students are excited for their futures in the Design Building.

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