The campus community gathered in the sunny Greenway courtyard on Thursday in an informal celebration of the opening of the College’s four new residence halls. Groups of students, staff, and faculty used the event as an opportunity to tour the buildings that they had been watching rise from the ground for the past year and explore the facilities’ two-story study areas, connecting bridges, kitchens and event rooms. Then, in the evening, a small crowd lined the new outdoor seating areas to note the contributions of the many people involved in the project—Kyu Sung Woo Architects, landscape designers Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates and interior designers Parker-Torres Design Inc., as well as many members of the campus community. Below is a sampling of what people said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Seniors Karen Blake and Bessy Birhanu cut the ribbon at the official ceremony to open the Greenway Residence Halls. (Video by Marcus DeMaio)
Watch a time-lapse video of the Greenway dorms being constructed, taken from live webcam images. (Video by Marcus DeMaio)
President Biddy Martin
The residence halls are the first of three projects that will be the biggest transformation of physical campus since the founding of the College…The Greenway Residence Halls are extraordinary in many different ways and one of those ways is that they were designed and built in less than two years.
Suzanne Coffey, Chief Students Affairs Officer
This setting and the buildings—with their open, fluid design and intentional mix of living, learning and event space—signal further transformation toward enhancing experiences [for students]. We’re proud of the Amherst we inhabit, proud of this incredible student body and pleased to be able to set down additional roots in these halls, where bridging differences is more than metaphor.
Karen Blake ’17, president of the Association of Amherst Students
The new residence halls are designed not only to provide students with an inviting and eco-friendly place to live but also to create opportunities for students to hang out in an unstructured and impromptu fashion. … The intentional construction of the Greenway Residence Halls makes it easy for students to make connections across groups, across class and hopefully across difference.
James Brassord, Chief of Campus Operations
The design process started two years ago. Two years sounds like a long time, but it’s a blink of the eye for a project of this ambition. [The vision was] to create this blended environment where there was a connection to the landscape. And these buildings combine that just beautifully.
Beselot “Bessy” Birhanu ’17, Resident Counselor in Greenway D
I think I speak for everyone in the Greenway when I say we share the excitement of the greater community to see what Greenway can mean for this College in terms of community building. My personal hope is that when the outdoor spaces are no longer available because of Amherst’s characteristically inclement weather—called “winter”—we get to use the really fun and interactive indoor spaces, because there are a ton of them. We really want to see [the Greenway] become a haven for creativity, a space where everyone can come together and, honestly, a home away from home.
Tucked into the hillside, with iconic views of the Holyoke Range, the new halls are grouped around a central courtyard and linked by bridges. Take a video tour, see photos and more.