Project Profiles

R.W. Kern Center

The R.W. Kern Center meets the stringent requirements of the world's most advanced green building standard. It joins just 18 other buildings in the world (as of April 2018) certified as a Living Building and is the largest Living Certified higher-education project. This 17,000-square-foot building has classrooms, offices, a café and gallery space, and serves as the introduction to the Hampshire College campus for prospective students.
Project

R.W. Kern Center

Hampshire College

Architect

Bruner/Cott & Associates

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Owner

Hampshire College

Amherst, Massachusetts

Contractor

Wright Builders (General)

Northampton, Massachusetts

Pilgrim Interiors, Inc. (Subcontractor)

Chicopee, Massachusetts

The R.W. Kern Center joins just 18 other buildings in the world (as of April 2018) certified as a Living Building and is the largest Living Certified higher-education project. This 17,000-square-foot building has classrooms, offices, a café and gallery space, and serves as the introduction to the Hampshire College campus for prospective students.

Generating its own electricity and collecting its own water, the R.W. Kern Center was built with materials primarily from local and regional sources and free from “red list” chemicals. This multi-functional facility also serves as a living laboratory, where students and the public study its systems and performance, tied to measures for sustainability.

It is the first installment in Hampshire’s broad sustainability mission to make campus operations carbon neutral, including a plan to go 100 percent solar for electricity. Its gray-water treatment system is also in a pilot program for the state and may pave the way for others. It was featured in National Geographic magazine as one of the “Top 10 Green Buildings of 2017.”