UMass Amherst Bromery Fine Arts Center Bridge
Citation: Change & Discovery
Project name: UMass Amherst Bromery Fine Arts Center Bridge
Project narrative: The Bromery Fine Arts Center Bridge at UMass Amherst is a 600-foot long, 40-foot wide bar of art studios and classrooms suspended 30 feet in the air. The Bridge is an iconic feature of the University’s brutalist Fine Arts Center, completed in 1975 by Kevin Roche. This renovation reprogrammed the Bridge from traditional studios to support a wide range of art disciplines, including theater, scene design, costume design, sound, music, and animation. Since completion, the Bridge has become alive with multidisciplinary arts-making. The building is now a tool that encourages students’ creative expression, rather than a liability that hinders it.
Project location: Amherst, Massachusetts
Firm name: designLAB architects
Project type: Higher Education Art Education Space
Project information: Adaptive reuse, Renovation/restoration
Size: 25,000 sf
Client: UMass Amherst
Jury comments: This project is fun and thoughtful, with a great use of color and smart use of resources; it’s clear, but not rigid, nor with boring preservation goals. The resulting design humanizes the Brutalist interior by inserting a new programmable wall along the length of the Bridge. The renovation used minimal natural resources, with an impressive low cost per square footage for an arts education environment. The jury was delighted with the experimentation of changing the perception of an outdated icon from inflexible liability to adaptable, multidisciplinary space. The Bridge renovation coincided with the creation of UMass Brut, an advocacy group of faculty, staff and students raising support for the impressive Brutalist buildings on UMass campuses, demonstrating how campuses nationally can revitalize mid-century at minimal cost.
Images/Photographer(s): Leigh Chodos
General Contractor: DA Sullivan & Sons
Project or Construction Manager: DA Sullivan & Sons
Structural: RSE Associates
Mechanical: Architectural Engineers
Electrical: Architectural Engineers
Plumbing: Architectural Engineers
Lighting: Sladen Feinstein, Integrated Lighting, Inc.
Audio Visual: Acentech
Consultants: Fire Alarm: Architectural Engineers; Fire Protection Engineer: Fernandez & Associates; Energy Modeling: Demand Management Institute; Cost Estimator: FV consulting; Building/Accessibility Code Consultant: C3; Theater Consultant: Fisher Dachs Associates; Specifications: Kalin Associates, Inc.; Envelope Consultant: Building Envelope Technologies, Inc.; Concrete Cleaning Consultant: IRC-ICC; Environmental Health and Safety: Campus Safety and Fire Protection