Energy Modeling of University of Massachusetts-Amherst Fine Art Center, a Modernist Icon
Architects of Brutalist buildings were aware of design strategies that maximized occupant comfort, e.g., site positioning, solar shading, load mitigation with thermal mass, glare control, daylighting, and material reflectance. In this paper, the authors show that these strategies were optimally employed and, in doing so, conserve energy. This case study is the Fine Art Center (1972-74) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
The findings suggest that the Fine Art Center, as built and situated on the site, does take advantage of many of the above strategies and does so in both expected and unexpected ways. This study advances the body of scholarship on Modernist icons by examining an under-represented feature of historical buildings: their energy performance. It also offers insight into sustainable building strategies in use before the advent of contemporary technologies and supports their use in both new construction and rehabilitation.