Hampshire College and the Hitchcock Center for the Environment have identified a site on campus where the Hitchcock Center will build its new home: a state-of-the-art sustainable building incorporating ecological design principles. The Hampshire College Board of Trustees has approved the location between the Red Barn and the Farm Center.
The Hitchcock Center has announced the selection of designLAB Architects of Boston to lead the Center through a visionary, integrated design process. Led by architects Robert Miklos and Sam Batchelor, designLAB brings a strong team of local and regional architects, landscape architects, sustainability consultants, engineers, and exhibit designers to the project. The studio is a national leader in the design of cultural and environmental facilities, leveraging each building project to promote the mission and values of the institutions they serve.
"We are looking forward to welcoming the Hitchcock Center and its remarkable program to the Hampshire campus and we foresee many wonderful partnerships that the Center's presence will enable," said Hampshire President Jonathan Lash. "The Hampshire Board's approval of the site and the selection of the Hitchcock Center's design team signal the beginning of an exciting creative process."
Julie Johnson, executive director of the Hitchcock Center, said: "The site is ideally suited for our new environmental learning center. The proposed new 7,000 square foot building will significantly increase the number of people, especially children, we serve while providing inspiring indoor and outdoor classrooms, accessibility to many communities through public transportation, multiple points of collaboration with Hampshire College, and access to the building's beautifully diverse surrounding habitats."
"We are thrilled to be forging this relationship with Hampshire College, especially as we celebrate our 50th anniversary. This partnership will help the Hitchcock Center enter a new era as we begin our next 50 years of providing environmental education to future generations," said Jaana Cutson 85F, president of the Hitchcock Center Board of Directors, who is a Hampshire alum.
The Hitchcock Center is an independent, nonprofit, environmental learning center. It serves nearly 6,500 children, youth, and adults each year, employs a growing staff of environmental educators, and has a service region that encompasses all of western Massachusetts. Its programs have more than doubled since 2000, and space limitations are hampering the ability to meet rising requests for programs, field trips, and classes. One year ago, the leaders of both organizations jointly announced that the Hitchcock Center would relocate to the Hampshire College campus.
"The new site at Hampshire College and the design team that we have selected will bring to reality our vision for an education center that seamlessly integrates the building and the surrounding natural landscape as an exciting and unique place for teaching environmental sustainability," said Sarah la Cour, chair of the Hitchcock Center Building Committee.
The Hitchcock Center for the Environment and designLAB's team will enter into conceptual design in the next month. The Hitchcock Center will begin fundraising in earnest as the planning progresses, with the building project funded by philanthropic support.