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Technologies Building Plan Strives for Vision

UML Community Members and Architect Take Part In "Charrette"

Among those present for the Charrette session were, from left, Executive Vice Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney; George Behrakis, a friend of the University who has had experience in building high tech facilities; Tom Kerwin, a project manager at Joslin Lesser Inc., an advisory firm to the UMass Building Authority; and Chancellor Marty Meehan.

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Planning for the construction of the Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center -- a building that will be a major element in the University’s vision of the future -- continued in late May with a day-long collaborative session in the Wannalancit Mill building.

Some 50 administrators, deans, faculty members and facilities employees convened to participate in a Charrette ߝ a collaborative session sometimes defined, in part, as “a collaborative planning process that harnesses the talents and energies of all interested parties to create and support a feasible plan.”

The session was conducted by members of CUH2A, the architecture and engineering firm, based in Princeton, N.J., that has been chosen to design the new Center.

During the morning portion, the participants were asked to view 52 images -ߝ ranging from a spider web, fireworks and a turtle to mountain hikers and a desert scene --  and decide whether or not (or maybe) they liked each one. The exercise was then refined by dividing the group into smaller sections in which the images were judged not only by their visual appeal but by the emotions they evinced -- such as excitement, energy, light or strength.

June Hanley, a planner with CUH2A, described the exercise as creating a “vision tree” that would help produce a vision for the new building.

Chancellor Marty Meehan, on hand for much of the morning, described the session as “an exciting and important project for our future” and said he was pleased to see so many members of the University community present and involved.

The Charrette was part of what interim Chief Technology Officer Tom Costello has described as “an aggressive schedule of activities, meetings and data collection planned throughout the summer” that will enable the University to “move to the schematic design stage before September.”

In welcoming everyone at the outset, Costello said the goal of the project was to “shoot for silver” in the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) hierarchy of green building architecture. The LEED Green Building Rating System, developed by he U.S. Green Building Council, provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction.

“Silver” is one of four LEED rating categories.

During the afternoon portion of the meeting, a smaller group of University representatives conferred with members of the CUH2A team regarding the LEED prerequisites as they relate to the planned Center.

Dan Rew, a LEED designer and CUH2A architect, displays one of the images to be judged by participants during the Charrette “vision tree” session.