Williamstown, MA – Leers Weinzapfel Associates announced a new project for the Davis Center at Williams College in Williamstown.
In collaboration with J. Garland Enterprises, Leers Weinzapfel Associates is expanding the current center to 26,350sf with a major new addition as well as comprehensive renovations of the adjacent 19th-century Rice and Jenness Houses, which currently house the Black Student Union and Multicultural Center. The resulting facility will feature universal access and increased space to accommodate Minority Coalition (MinCo) student gatherings, meetings, dialogue, classes, socializing, studying, and programming.
The new addition will reflect the domestic scale of the Rice and Jenness Houses with an open, glazed ground floor that acts as an invitation to broad campus engagement. A dynamic roofscape references the peaks and valleys of the mountain ranges that surround the college. The center will house a large new gathering and event space to host the wide range of Davis Center programs, student group meeting spaces at a variety of sizes, staff office space to accommodate program growth, and improved kitchens for cultural and student group use. Beyond the program itself, the college sought spaces that would be connected instead of siloed in separate buildings, that emphasized both physical and cultural access, and that reflected the mission of the center.
The new Davis Center will welcome everyone, with a particular focus on those from historically underrepresented identities, according to representatives of Leers Weinzapfel Associates. Comprising modernized space for current and future needs, it is being designed as a dynamic and effective hub for education, activism, community building, academic exploration, well-being, and celebration, providing space for student affinity groups to collaborate and convene in furtherance of a more inclusive Williams.
The project is pursuing Living Building Challenge petal certification, and completion is expected in fall of 2023.