UMass Lowell’s New $54M University Suites Evoke Area’s Textile and Industrial Heritage

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Building’s exterior inspired by 19th Century Jacquard Loom punch cards / ©Robert Benson

Designed by ADD Inc.

BostonThe University of Massachusetts Lowell’s new $54 million University Suites residence hall is the latest academic project by the architecture and design firm ADD Inc.

The construction manager was Walsh Brothers, Inc.

The project was designed with the city of Lowell’s textile and industrial heritage in mind and complements the Northern Canal neighborhood, which was home to the storied Lawrence Mills. The exterior pattern of brick and metal panel and bold colors was inspired by the early 19th century Jacquard Loom, that used punch cards to allow industrial mills to automate and efficiently reproduce complex patterns.

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The suites / ©Robert Benson

The color scheme and materials used for the interior design are tied to the building’s exterior of gold, brown, and red, which was inspired by the brick hues of the surrounding historic mills.

The five-story, 148,000sf residence hall houses 472 students. There are a total of 88 four-and six-bed suites with bathroom, living room, and kitchenette. Whiteboards at the entrance give students the ability to personalize their entry with art or notes.
Windows were added, creating inviting and light-filled hallways.
The Hawk’s Nest Café is open to students and the public and serves grab-and-go meals during the day and Asian-fusion cuisine in the evenings.

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Common space

The first-floor communal lounge features a glass-fronted living room with fireplace. There are two lounges on every floor with flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, full kitchens, and living rooms that can seat 35 people comfortably. A multipurpose room is available and can accommodate up to 126 people. Quiet study rooms are also available throughout the residence hall.

Three wings surround a courtyard, providing students on East Campus valued green space and an area for public events. Recycled wood elements were integrated in the lobby and café to show the building’s use of sustainable design. Other green features include valence units for heating that provide a lower environmental footprint, LED lighting, reclaimed rain water for irrigation, and daylight sensors in common areas.

The residence hall is currently seeking LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Buildings Council.