Brown University Tops Off New Center

Brown University wellness center – exterior progress & CLT decking

Providence, RI – Shawmut Design and Construction celebrated a virtual topping-off ceremony of Brown University’s under-construction wellness center and residence hall. It is expected to be open in time for the university’s fall 2021 semester.

Shawmut, in partnership with William Rawn Associates, is completing the center that will mark the first new building in the university’s housing portfolio in 30 years. 

When complete, the center will include a residence hall on the upper floors, including single bedrooms and several four-person suites. On the lower levels, the co-located student services include clinical areas, a counseling and psychological services team, a health promotion center, and the student-led EMS department.

Wellness center / Rendering courtesy of William Rawn Associates

The building features an innovative hybrid system of steel framing and cross-laminated timber (CLT), a carbon-negative material that promotes the use of renewable and environmentally sensitive resources, carefully managed forestry, and building technology that is meant to last.

The CLT emits less CO2 than the production of steel or concrete while also reducing the amount of man-made materials utilized in conventional construction throughout the project.

The interior environment of the building is infused with the same commitment to sustainability through its exposed CLT. The natural wood ceilings and a visible wood deck will present warm, natural material and amplify access to nature and daylight. 

In addition to strategies for natural ventilation in bedrooms for indoor air quality, the building will also be equipped with energy recovery technology on mechanical systems. All building systems are electric, which is a result of the university’s pledge to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 20. 

Ron Simoneau, executive vice president of education at Shawmut, said, “With the building’s unique approach to sustainable design and the utilization of a cross-laminated timber structure, this facility will become a one-of-a-kind residential and academic experience that will be a model for holistic student learning and engagement.”

The project, which is part of the Brown/Shawmut Strategic Sourcing Program, is designed to LEED v4 Silver standards, using Fitwel and WELL certification systems as guidelines for the overall approach. This holistic approach to wellness translates directly into the building’s sustainable materials.