Amherst College Powerhouse, Cambridge, Mass.

South west view of the Powerhouse, Amherst College.

The 6,500 square-foot, $3 million project represents a sensitive yet raw reworking of the college’s historic 1925 brick steam plant, designed by the venerable firm, McKim Mead & White.

Shaped with input from the student body, the new facility fills a pressing need on the campus, which had little space devoted to its uses before.

Located on the east side of campus, the Powerhouse is adjacent to a new residential quadrangle now in the planning stages.

Side entry adjacent to event terrace.

The front entry to the new student even space.

Contemporary design elements were integrated within a robust framework of historic preservation to create the new facility.

A strong new landscape concept marries the interior to a paved exterior terrace with natural amphitheater seating accommodating outdoor events and spill-over from indoor social activities.

Novel approaches to natural ventilation and waste heat recovery from existing utilities were incorporated.

Reconfigured, the Powerhouse now accommodates performances, dances, parties, coffee houses, dinners, speakers, farmers’ markets, and food truck nights. Lighting and sound systems with flexible furniture concepts support this broad range of activities.

Structural alterations included the removal of columns and a series of seismic upgrades.

The garage doors have access to the south terrace.

Interior space. Flooring is end grain Texas mesquite.

The rear mezzanine overlooks event space.

The program for the building includes accessibility, a new pergola wing for restrooms, and food service support.

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