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R. W. Kern Center

"This building will tell Hampshire’s story, embody its values, serve its needs, and draw our visitors into the community."
-- President Jonathan Lash

A New Building for Hampshire

South ViewThis summer, Hampshire College is planning to break ground on the R. W. Kern Center, its first new building in decades: a multifunctional learning, teaching, and exhibition space. The R. W. Kern Center will be the point of entry for prospective students and their families into the community. As the home of the admissions office, it will also enable tours to start near the center of campus. This building will also provide instructional space, serve as a hub to share information about the campus, and highlight Hampshire’s mission. The bookstore will be relocated to the building from the first floor of the Johnson Library. This will open up almost the entire first floor of the library to be developed as a student learning commons.

The College intends to pursue Living Building Certification (LBC), which requires the creation of a net-zero energy, waste, and water building. There are currently fewer than ten LBC-certified buildings in the country, and Hampshire will provide national leadership at the confluence of architectural design and energy and water conservation. The R. W. Kern Center will be a proud symbol for Hampshire College, as it will serve all of the campus in a variety of ways and stand in the forefront of sustainable building practices.

Impact and Goals

  • The R. W. Kern Center will ensure that prospective students discover the Hampshire education more directly.
  • Meeting a variety of space needs, the R. W. Kern Center will be a place that encourages community, collaboration, and conversation (with good coffee!).
  • The R. W. Kern Center will enhance the admissions process and relieve limitations imposed by the current buildings and location on periphery of campus.
  • The project will push the bounds of environmental design by achieving "Living Status" under the Living Building Challenge (LBC).
  • The R. W. Kern Center should be a place where the story of Hampshire College as a unique, progressive, and experimenting intellectual community can be explored.
  • The design of the R. W. Kern Center should be accessible, flexible, and adaptable.
  • The landscape should invite people to be around the building, not just inside it.

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