AMHERST, Mass – The renovation of the historic Old Chapel at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification. That’s from the U.S. Green Building Council. The LEED rating system is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities. Those that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for green. Green which is improved environmental and human health performance.
The Old Chapel
Built in 1885, the Old Chapel is the most iconic and significant historic building on the UMass Amherst campus. Designed by Steven C. Earle in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. For the building originally housed:
- a library
- natural history collections and
It was later used as a drill hall. All for departmental offices and finally as home to the Minuteman Marching Band in the 1960s. That’s before officially closing its doors in 1999 due to structural deterioration.
The Old Chapel was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015. So work began on a $21 million renovation. As well as an addition and preservation effort. All to restore the building to its original glory.
After a thoughtful planning process to find a contemporary use for the building. All the while preserving as much of the original fabric as possible. Now the revitalized Old Chapel serves students, faculty and alumni. That’s as a campus resource.
The first floor provides a flexible layout for student study. Also gallery exhibitions and community events. Finally, the Great Hall on the top floor provides a large open space for performances. Also lectures, receptions and weddings.
UMass Amherst and the UMass Building Authority hired Finegold Alexander Architects of Boston. That’s to design the restoration and demonstrate how aspects of historic preservation and sustainability can work together. The firm deployed an array of sustainability strategies. That’s to maintain the integrity of the original design and materials. All the while adapting the building’s structure and interior to modern use. Furthermore access and building code requirements. The Old Chapel’s original structure consists of local timber and stone. That’s such as Pelham granite and Longmeadow sandstone. The design also reused 83 percent of structural masonry. As well as wood columns, beams, trusses and wainscoting trim. Finally and 82 percent of new wood products were either locally sourced. That’s as well as Forest Stewardship Council (CSC) Certified. I think this part of it is the coolest to me frankly! So so cool!
The addition of a contemporary glass entry pavilion at the south façade. For it is integrated into a landscaped terrace. One that provides full accessibility. All the while also incorporating water efficient landscaping and rainwater management. One that also improves site ecology.
Meeting modern indoor environment and energy efficiency requirements. All within the original exterior wall assembly. I mean it was a challenge. So the design team used energy modeling. That’s to find the correct balance of masonry wall insulation. As well as energy efficient glazing and stained glass restoration. All so that sustainability goals were in concert with historic restoration efforts. The building is designed to exceed code energy performance by 21 percent. Moreover and to reduce potable water use by 34 percent. Finally it will follow a rigorous measurement and verification process. One that ensures those savings are realized post-occupancy.
The Old Chapel renovation is the first architecturally significant historic building gone LEED. I mean on campus to achieve LEED Gold Certification. As well as the 11th project within a sustainable building program at UMass Amherst. Moreover that includes 10 other facilities totaling approximately 1,155,000 gross square feet of LEED certified space. With six more registered projects undergoing certification. So these sustainably designed buildings are projected to make up 13 percent of the total UMass Amherst building stock.
Other projects that were recently awarded certification include the Paige Laboratory Renovations at LEED Silver.
As well as the Integrative Learning Center at LEED Gold.
“The LEED Building program exemplifies our commitment to sustainable development principles by lowering carbon emissions associated with construction, and demonstrates our focus on healthy, energy efficient, and durable construction that reduces operating costs and prioritizes sustainable practices,” said Shane Conklin, associate vice chancellor for facilities and campus services. “Our campus and buildings serve as an invaluable educational tool for students to learn from innovative design, construction and maintenance practices that model community sustainability.”
Source: UMass green campus, Aug. 24, 2017