Located in the Physical Plant building next to Campus Police, the Design and Construction Department is responsible for the "oversight and management of facilities, planning and design at Amherst College." As the college's physical form has evolved, the department has collected the souvenirs of a growing institution: construction scraps, hidden treasures uncovered by countless renovations and even a pair of postmodern mistakes. Tom Davies, the director of design and construction, shows us around.
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Object 1: The Clock That Thinks It's in Denver
Object 2: Greening LeFrak
During the renovation of Morris Pratt Dormitory, the solid oak column enclosures found in so many of the common spaces were fabricated off-site. The enclosures that arrived at the job site were a tad large, so they were trimmed down to fit. Davies picked up this scrap before it was thrown away.
Object 4: Column Capital
These pulleys are some of the last remnants of Charles Pratt's days as the college gymnasium. Before it was a dorm or natural history museum, the building housed gymnastic equipment suspended by dozens of these pulleys. On the left is another piece of Fayerweather—this one was removed and sent to a mason as a color sample for replacement terra cotta.
These two objects form the bookends of one of the largest construction projects in recent college memory: the Earth Sciences and Museum of Natural History Building. On the right is, according to Davies, "what's left of a white birch tree that gave its life" for the building. On the left is a builder's sample of a mechanical track system. Designed to smoothly carry extremely heavy loads on industrial process lines, the system was adapted to carry the dinosaur track slabs in the Museum of Natural History.
Object 7: The Grove
Object 8: A Mystery and a Mistake
Object 9: Blower Door Fans
Object 10: Lord Jeffery Inn Renovation Plans
One of these plants is alive and contemporary; the other... not so much. The plant on the right is a prototype design for the Museum of Natural History's diorama modeling of what the local dinosaurs and plant life might have looked like.