UMass Amherst Domino-like Building Opens

The opening of the Business Innovation Hub (BIH) at the heart of the University of Massachusetts Amherst adds 70,000 square feet of hyper-collaborative study and social space to one of the top-30 public business schools in the United States. The new expansion and renovation of the Isenberg School of Management nearly doubles the school’s current space to accommodate Isenberg’s growth in the last decade, while introducing new facilities for more than 150 staff and 5,000.

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), a Copenhagen, New York and London based group of architects, thoughtfully designed around how people move through the space. The architects conducted hundreds of interviews with students, faculty, and staff to determine the best way to meet their needs. They determined that many "collision spaces" would enable human interaction, discussion and collaboration. The three floors had to be thoughtfully connected with the original Isenberg building to create a seamless flow of people and ideas.

Prominently situated on Haigis Mall near the entrance to the campus, a dramatic triangular glass entrance created by a domino-effect greets students. The building exterior is wrapped in straight, vertical pillars that gradually slope downward, creating a distinct appearance without any curved elements. The Business Innovation Hub directly extends downward, creating a distinct appearance without any curved elements. The Business Innovation Hub directly extends the school’s existing 1964 building from the north and east sides in a wide circular loop, linking back on the upper floors to maintain connectivity. The loop consolidates Isenberg’s faculty and staff under one roof, creating a singular place of arrival and a strong visual identity for the entire Isenberg School of Management.

The Business Innovation Hub’s exterior is clad in copper, so long-term exposure to the elements will naturally weather the metal from a dark ochre to an enduring patina. With longevity and sustainability in mind, the building also targets LEED Silver certification. Upon entering, students and faculty arrive at the 5,000 square foot Learning Commons. Daylight peers between the accordion-like pillars to illuminate the multi-story atrium, where the heart of the business school hums with students learning, networking and dining. The bright and spacious Learning Commons doubles as an event venue for guest speakers, award ceremonies, banquets and career fairs. In any room or hallway, natural light reaches inside from both the campus and the inner courtyard.




sources: isenberg.umass, big