Judging has wrapped for the 2012 AIA New England awards. Payette is pleased to announce the University of Massachusetts CNS Research and Education Greenhouse received an Honor Award. Additionally, this project received a Boston Society of Architects (BSA) Honor Award. The BSA will announce the tier of the award at the annual Gala in January 2013. Learn more about the project.
A testament to Payette’s commitment to design excellence, this project’s final design was strongly influenced by review comments at an office wide project pin-up. This is a formal process that each project undergoes during the early (usually schematic) design phase to improve the design quality of the project. The pin-up fell at the end of the schematic design phase for the greenhouse project. The jury and audience suggested many ideas, but one direction strongly resonated with the team. This idea led the team consider the “head-house” in the vernacular of both the greenhouses and the classic New England barn form. This concept would simplify and clarify the massing into a coherent and compelling collection of elements.
The team worked to develop this idea and discovered a beautiful design solution to a complex problem. The research greenhouse is a highly specialized building typology, distinct from both research laboratories and standard greenhouses. The research greenhouse is a building-sized machine, with highly technical requirements in both mechanical systems and in building shape, size and configuration. This building type leaves little room for deviation to meet architectural design objectives and thus, the suggestions from the pin-up session enabled the design team to take the idealized (research) greenhouse shape and size as a source of inspiration for the design of the rest of the project.
Though these modifications to the design were implemented at the end of the schematic design phase, the owner reacted positively to the changes and the team was able to bring these ideas to reality. The greenhouse is an open, flexible environment for research-quality plant experimentation and botany instruction. The design maximizes research capability with high-bay space and sophisticated automated systems. Custom-fabricated to meet the needs of University researchers, the greenhouse is a complex, living machine.