University of Massachusetts Lowell University Crossing
University Crossing sits at a pivotal promontory in the city, at the spring point of a bridge linking the three disparate campuses divided by the Merrimack River. The rich textile history of Lowell is knit throughout the interior and exterior language which is based on transparency and layers that relate to the outcroppings of stones in the river. This vibrant center for student life is a unifying hub of activity and represents the diverse groups on campus from the Chancellor to the University Police.
The heart of the building is a daylit, four-story atrium that serves as an active theater for campus life and reaches outward to engage the city beyond. As a reflection of the intuition, the lantern dominates the atrium and is a reinterpretation of the textile looms and the campus heritage. University Crossing is now the core of the former commuter campus, elevating UMass Lowell’s position as a leader in education.
The campus community desired a very porous and engaged ground level, which resonated with the goals of the University’s leadership. For that reason, we located retail and lounge space at the ground level to open up visibility to the entire building, and increase the framework for positive relations.
The feature element is the lantern, a sculptural reinterpretation of the looms in the textile mills that once powered the city of Lowell. Wood slats organized in vertical linear modules make up the lantern, which starts just above head height and reaches to the sky. The wood lattice gives place to the varied social interactions of a community and forms a unifying scene when viewed from campus and beyond.
We achieved LEED Silver Certification through a number of strategies from the efficient building envelope, extensive daylight, and green roofs that stitch together indoor and outdoor space. With a north-facing design, we solved the challenge of directing natural daylight deep into the building’s four-story atrium through a custom complex stainless steel reflector. The dramatic play of reflected light and its dynamic qualities breathe life into the space.