Amherst College, Powerhouse

Amherst, Massachusetts

Amherst College engaged the architect to create a gathering and event space in a tactful but raw reworking of the historic 1925 McKim Mead & White steam plant. The existing classic form, with its industrial interior, was reconfigured to accommodate performances, dance parties, art exhibits, outdoor events, speakers and other student gatherings. New lighting, sound ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONCAPACITY1,785COST PER SQ FT$480.00FEATURED IN2015 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYAdaptive Reuse and flexible furniture concepts support this broad range of activities.

Amherst’s program includes provision for accessibility, a new pergola wing for restrooms, and food service support. A strong new landscape concept marries the interior to a paved exterior terrace; natural amphitheater seating accommodates outdoor events and accepts spillover from indoor activities.

The new facility emphasizes novel approaches to natural ventilation and waste heat recovery from existing utilities. Contemporary design elements are conceived within a robust framework of historic preservation. Structural alterations include the removal of columns and a series of seismic upgrades. The project is designed to meet LEED guidelines for sustainability.