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Ellison Balanced Doors Completes Amherst College’s New Science Center

Glass Magazine


Amherst College

Ellison Bronze provided eight pairs of extruded aluminum balanced doors for the new science center at Amherst College.

Established in 1821, Amherst College is a private, not-for-profit liberal arts college located roughly two hours west of Boston. The college’s former science building was unable to accommodate today’s technologies, equipment and overall methods for effective teaching and learning. For that reason, Amherst College needed a new, innovative building to create an open learning environment delivered through sustainable design.

The entrances feature extruded aluminum Ellison balanced doors coated with a Sherwin-Williams Sher-Nar Amherst College Grey finish. Ellison’s PowerNow Stanley Magic-Force power operators were incorporated and connected to the building’s smoke evacuation system.

“As big as the Ellison doors are, they operate with ease,” says Peter Person, senior project manager at R&R Window Contractors. “The doors are an excellent fit for the building’s eco-friendly design and contribute to meeting its ADA accessibility requirements.”

The three-story, 251,000-square-foot-facility features five separate building components, including two “high-energy” laboratory wings and three “low-intensity use” pavilions. Serving as the core of the building, a daylit commons area is accessed through Ellison vestibule entrances set in a full-scale, energy-efficient glass curtain wall.

“There are multiple benefits offered by balanced doors for both installers and end users,” says Person. “Our team found them to be relatively simple to install, and for windy areas, balanced doors are in a class of their own—a real benefit for the thousands of students and staff accessing the building each day.”

Amherst CollegeThe Amherst College Science Center possesses one of the lowest energy footprints for a research building of its kind, with a predicted energy use intensity of 91 kBtu/sf/yr—76 percent less than a typical laboratory building.

Ellison doors are formed or extruded from durable materials that produce a rigid, unitized structure—ideal entrances for a building designed to last into the next century, say company officials.

The new science center won a 2019 AIA COTE Top Ten Award, an awards program for sustainable design excellence.

In addition to Ellison Bronze, the project team included door installer R&R Window Contractors; architect Payette; MEP/FP engineer van Zelm Engineers; structural engineer LeMessurier; and construction manager Barr & Barr.

The Amherst College Science Center was completed in the summer of 2018.