Home Designer Architectural 2015 Download MassLive.com You are signed in as Edit Public Profile Sign Out MassLive's YouTube page Sign up for push notifications Download our apps The Republican Email newsletters >Innovative UMass Design Building 'designed by designers for designers to teach design' Updated October 16, 2015 at 2:03 PM; Posted October 16, 2015 at 1:01 PM 21 Gallery: UMass Amherst officials break ground on innovative Design Building By Diane Lederman email@example.com AMHERST -- For years, Michael Davidson has been teaching landscape architecture at the University of Massachusetts in a building that was a former dorm. He can't wait for the new $52 million Design Building to be finished. He can keep track of the building's progress from the former Hills dorm overlooking the site. "It's very exciting," he said. "This is designed by designers for designers ... to teach design," and will serve as a teaching tool in its own right. About 100 people celebrated the construction of the Design Building, which when completed will be home to Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; the Department of Architecture from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts; and the Building Construction Technology program from the College of Natural Sciences. The building will allow for collaborations between those departments that are housed in separate buildings now. Construction began in the spring and is expected to be finished in the spring semester of 2017. In praising the building, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said, "It's bold, beautiful and brilliant," and is a reflection of the campus. He said it will be "the most advanced wood structure in the United States," and yield zero carbon emissions. Initially, the building was set to be the more common steel/concrete construction, but instead will feature a glue-laminated wood, cross-laminated timber and wood-concrete composite structure. According to the building construction website, "this structural system reduces this building's carbon footprint and maximizes the use of renewable material." State Rep. Ellen Story, D-Amherst, who also spoke, praised former Congressman John Olver's initiative to see that the building was wood, not steel. She said he thought the steel "was not a good idea. He told everyone who would listen." He was able to secure $3 million in funding to allow the building to be built of wood, and it will be the only one of its kind east of the Mississippi, she said. Olver, the retired Amherst Democrat, attended the ceremony but did not speak. UMass President Marty Meehan pointed out that the building, however, requires borrowing money that has to be repaid. "Excellence costs money. I will never compromise when it comes to excellence," Meehan said. He also praised Olver for his vision and the collaboration involved with the building. The UMass Building Authority hired the Boston-based Leers Weinzapfel Associates to design the building. The building will house classrooms and studios, computer labs, lounges, meeting and teleconferencing rooms, a materials testing lab, a green building lab, a wood shop, a digital fabrication lab, an outdoor work area and a cafe. It will also feature a covered indoor courtyard on the first floor and an outdoor courtyard complete with green roof on the third floor.