HMFH Architects, a Cambridge-based architectural firm focused on the design of student living and learning environments, announced today that it has been retained by the University of Massachusetts at Lowell to undertake the first phase of a new student engagement center on the school’s North Campus. Chosen for its experience in designing collaborative environments that foster social interaction among students and faculty, HMFH was also the architect for the planning study that examined the existing buildings to determine how best to integrate the new center into the campus.
With UML trying to foster more opportunities for student social and collaborative interactions on their North Campus, HMFH initially studied two existing campus buildings, the historic Alumni Hall and adjacent modern Lydon Library, as possible locations for the student engagement center. HMFH’s plan will create a highly visible and accessible center to support not only student-to-student interactions but also communication among students, faculty and visitors by reinvigorating the historic interiors of Alumni Hall. A new accessible entrance lobby into Lydon will also serve to more fully integrate the two buildings, tying together the library learning commons both visually and physically with the new engagement center. The new center will feature seating and study areas, a café, and a lounge where educators and students can comfortably work and interact. Currently underutilized adjacent exterior spaces will be modified as part of the design of the center, providing a range of informal meeting spaces on campus both indoors and out. The first phase calls for the transformation of a little-used multi-purpose space into a central meeting space for North Campus to free up Alumni Hall for renovation. This will pave the way for the execution of the full student engagement center.