U-Mass UMass Amherst buildings

JohnAKeith

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Didn't see a thread for this.

From a weekend trip to Amherst. No, the weather didn't cause these buildings to look so drab and uninviting. They look like this on sunny days.

These are thumbnails; click to expand.









 

crash575

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I was there Saturday night and was shocked to see the amount of construction that's underway since my last visit (a year ago).
 

datadyne007

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The UMass system in general covers pretty much all the big names in brutalism. They make for great conversation pieces, especially because I'm a fan of brutalism and most people aren't. At Amherst, you have Kevin Roche's Fine Arts Center (your first photo) and Breuer's campus center and hotel. Then at UMass Dartmouth ("SMU") you have what happens when you let Paul Rudolph design an entire campus (his "Social Utopia").
 

Bos77

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The UMass system in general covers pretty much all the big names in brutalism. They make for great conversation pieces, especially because I'm a fan of brutalism and most people aren't. At Amherst, you have Kevin Roche's Fine Arts Center (your first photo) and Breuer's campus center and hotel.
Yup a lot of the star modernists took their biggest design turds in Amherst: Sasaki on campus planning, with Gordon Bunshaft, Edward Durell Stone, TAC, Hugh Stubbins, Roche, Breuer, etc, building away. I can applaud the UMass of the 60's-70's for trying to make their architectural stand against ivy-leafed New England academia, but poor execution, political infighting, and subsequent deffered maintainance have left the campus a mess. I suppose that is true of most other MA state buildings built at that time, and much of their failures has less to do with design than with the bureaucracy that runs them.
 
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czsz

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Modernist starchitects' works are best in isolation from one another. A whole campus of it = dreary fail.
 

JohnAKeith

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Oh, and the last photo on the second post. Windows. One pane. No screens. No storms.

Why??????

How could that have ever made sense?

Similar to Peabody Terrace at Harvard.

Way hot or way cold.
 

acroterion

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Having spent the majority of the last 5 years in the the Fine Arts Center, I can assure you it is as soul crushing inside as it is outside. Other than skylights, the studios have no connection with the outside world, and the "bridge" which contains the architecture department acts as a giant aerial heatsink that requires students to huddle around a space heater past september (much more than your average brutalist building). Originally the building included a reflecting pool in the current windswept plaza that looked quite cool, but it began to leak into the below grade galleries and performance hall. Apparently Kevin Roche refused to return to UMass for talks as he was pissed that his original design was compromised quite a bit. On the plus side the isolation provided by the windowlessness and really confusing circulation allowed for quite a bit of unsupervised shenanagans.

The other buildings are much the same. The Breuer building is probably one of the better ones, the campus center in located in the ziggurat-like base and goes down quite deep underground with a civil defense shelter vibe. There are a few nice beaux arts and romanesque buildings on campus as you move away from the monumental sculpture garden area. It's a stark contrast to the Amherst College and Mount Holyoke campuses.
 

BuilditDenser

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Since I'm bored on a plane, i decided to see what my alma mater is doing to fix the horrendous shape of its campus. I was surprised to just how much they have built in the past 5 years: rec center, honors college, the cool old brick building near the library, and a few others. Some good, some meh.

The building that I think we should focus on is the Isenberg School of Management addition. It is a striking design and I'm not sure how i feel about it. BIG was the architect and it is clear that they are spending a fortune on this given the sqft. Very different design than normal. I'm assuming that the stripes are made to try to blend it with the disaster known as the fine arts center.

Tons of renders here: https://www.isenberg.umass.edu/gallery/new-construction
 

kingofsheeba

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Shouldn't this be in the Greater New England thread? And Amherst is a brutalist minstrel show.

Side Note: I went to a party up there back in college. Obnoxious partiers. Most of whom weren't even students and I don't mean to insult any "U-Mies." My experience that weekend wasn't one made me want to transfer there.
 

shmessy

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Was just up to the campus last week bringing my son to his NSO (summer orientation) for the Isenberg School of Management where he starts this fall.

I think ya'll should recheck what's happening there with the newer buildings (yes, the stuff from the 60's and 70's was abominable):

https://www.umass.edu/dcm/major-capital-projects
 

bobthebuilder

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I frequent the capital projects page once every few months just to see whats going on, and as an Alum I try and get back to Amherst at least once a year. It's crazy how much both the campus and town center have changed even in the short time I've been out of school.

Additionally, if your son is looking for work while he's in school, check out UMass Transit services. Great place to work while in school.
 

shmessy

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I frequent the capital projects page once every few months just to see whats going on, and as an Alum I try and get back to Amherst at least once a year. It's crazy how much both the campus and town center have changed even in the short time I've been out of school.

Additionally, if your son is looking for work while he's in school, check out UMass Transit services. Great place to work while in school.
Hey thanks for that tip, Bob. Much appreciated and I certainly will advise him to do that! As an out of stater, UMass is going to cost him/me $50k/year.

Being a native-but now expatriate of 30+ years, I'm amazed at how UMass/Isenberg has climbed the ranks in the past few years - - I actually now understand why he chose it over the biz programs at Virginia Tech, Penn State, Delaware, etc.
 

shawn

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When I started at Umass Amherst in 2000, Commonwealth College had just been born, and we were housed up in Orchard Hill (which I had no interest in, and instead lived in Southwest). Now I see that there's a whole new dorm area dedicated to Comm College and it looks amazing. I also remember having biochem classes in buildings on Stockbridge which were at their youngest 50 years old? The lab equipment was archaic. Now it looks like there are lots of nice new life science labs too. Good job, Umass.

shmessy, driving a Umass bus is one of the best jobs you can get on campus. My dad did it in the early 70s and I did it too. Good pay, good hours, and you get your Class B Mass CDL. A big recommendation from this alum as well.
 

shmessy

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shmessy, driving a Umass bus is one of the best jobs you can get on campus. My dad did it in the early 70s and I did it too. Good pay, good hours, and you get your Class B Mass CDL. A big recommendation from this alum as well.
That seals it - - thanks Bob and Shawn, I'm texting my son right now to check out possibilities in the school transit department. Much appreciated!

BTW, I'm OCD-addicted to checking in everyday on the Isenberg addition cam which is updated every 15 minutes:

https://app.truelook.com/?u=du1473707489#tl_live
 

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