On Monday, the ever-expanding emerging professionals (EP) committee convened for our monthly meeting. We dug right into the logistics of planning upcoming events and chapter programming. We are particularly excited about our “Kick It By Eliza” with Alicia Tremblay event coming up on June 14th!
After refueling on snacks halfway through our meeting, we were regaled by a presentation from Jasmine, Co-Chair of the EP committee. Her excitement about the environmental, structural, and aesthetic benefits of the wood construction was infectious. She walked us through the details of the Design Building at UMass Amherst building which opened in January of 2017 after extensive collaboration through design and construction between all stakeholders. The project had support and input from of the UMass students and faculty, the MA State Legislature, the design team lead by Leers Weinzapfel Associates, and the contractor, Suffolk Construction.
Set in the hills of Amherst, the wood construction ties together the rustic roots of the historically agricultural school with the innovative research of the Building and Construction Technology and Architecture programs. We found ourselves inspired by how many synergies are offered by wood construction. The Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) used for the floors, walls, and stairs is an engineered product which reduces structural irregularities in wood, creating a strong and predictable building material which meets and exceed the requirements of the Fire Code. Since the CLT components are prefabricated and shipped to the site, it reduces the required storage space onsite and speeds up the construction process by allowing for simple assembly. Not only that, but the 70,000 CF of wood used in the building is hiding 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide from returning to the atmosphere for the life of the building!
Ultimately, Jasmine accomplished her goal of helping us all appreciate how much happier and healthier we can be in a wood building.