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Artist's rendering of the Integrated Design Building at University of Massachusetts
Artist's rendering of the Integrated Design Building at University of Massachusetts
The Integrated Design Building at University of Massachusetts under construction
March 2015
United States
Integrated Design Building at University of Massachusetts (Non-Residential)

When the University of Massachusetts (UMass) decided to combine its Architecture + Design, Building and Construction Technology, Landscape Architecture, and Regional Planning departments into a new integrated design building, it presented a significant opportunity for wood use. Keen to make the building a showcase of sustainability, the heads of those departments requested that wood be considered in order to make a statement that the University is leading by example in fighting climate change with cutting-edge technology and renewable material.

However, wood buildings this size are still rare and steel and concrete had long been the default materials for UMass buildings. When the UMass Building Authority did not believe wood could be a cost-effective solution and were skeptical of its environmental benefits, WoodWorks became involved to alleviate performance concerns and support environmental benefits with a comparative life cycle assessment of the steel and wood designs. WoodWorks also analyzed comparative costing information to determine what was driving up the cost of the wood design so that a viable approach to a wood solution could be determined.