Biophilia and Mass Timber at Swarthmore College
To align with Swarthmore College’s carbon neutrality goals, the DCCP aims to reduce its carbon emissions in operations and embodied carbon. A mass timber structural system was compared against a steel structure and was found to eliminate a significant portion of the embodied carbon associated with steel structures, and sequester a considerable amount of carbon for the life of the facility. Our engineering team designed efficient, innovative building systems, including an all-electric commercial kitchen and in-floor radiant heating and cooling. Intense collaboration with the engineering team resulted in building systems that remain exposed yet enhance the architecture – a celebration of our integrated design process.
Sustainably harvested mass timber plays a vital role in occupant wellbeing. Early in the design process, at a biophilic design summit, the project team identified mass timber as a building material that will slow the release of stress hormones and reduce depression, fatigue, and anxiety. DCCP’s interior concept – inspired by the surrounding arboretum – reflects how nature provides nourishment, support, and social encounters aiding in mental and physical wellbeing. A strategic palette of interior finishes adds texture, color, and scale to front and back of house spaces. Timber brings warmth and comfort throughout the building, emphasizing the beauty of natural wood.
[The building is] going up fast, and it's beautiful! I am rapidly becoming obsessed with it – all those things we heard about biophilia and attraction to natural materials are true – it's very nice to be around.”
Students, faculty, staff, and administrators at the college share the design team’s excitement seeing the building take form. The building’s beautiful curves and welcoming warmth will transform the working environment for dining staff and provide a peaceful respite for busy students.
In the Spotlight
Mass Timber Innovation: The Hospitality Prototype
The world has reached a crucial tipping point around carbon emissions. Could timber construction be the answer for the hospitality industry?
Metropolis Magazine Names DLR Group a Responsible Disruptor
Our work on mass timber for hotels was honored for its representation of positive change and healthy innovation in architecture and design.
Materiality and Hospitality: Researching Mass Timber Design for Hotels
Rising demand for travel means fresh design opportunities to open conversations about lowering the carbon impact of new hotels.
Timber: What’s Old is New Again
Many of us are familiar with wood as a decorative and finishing material, but wood is making its way back – quite literally – to the core of our buildings.
The Real Deal
DLR Group Partners with Texas A&M on Academic Center
DLR Group is partnering with Hines for the first mass timber academic building at Texas A&M. The Aplin Center will be an immersive learning laboratory for new university programs in hospitality and retail studies.
CTE Facilities Design: The Future of Education
Career and Technical Education facilities are the catalyst for our future workforce. At DLR Group, we’re connecting the built environment to special tailored curriculum and providing access to students to career pathways never thought imaginable before.
Inquiry and Wonder Supported Through the Built Environment
Flexible, adaptable learning environments are important in supporting inquiry-based learning. Our BOLD™ process helps educators build future-ready spaces.
Seeing and Valuing the Patient as a Customer
Modern patients have increased agency in navigating the healthcare system. Christina DeAmicis talks about what the "patient as a customer" means for design.
Addressing Funding Gaps for Wellbeing in Higher Education
While student wellbeing is a priority for higher education institutions, many struggle with securing the funding necessary for resources and initiatives.
Where Does Wellbeing Occur: Spaces for Wellness in Higher Education
Our EOC 4.0 study informs design solutions for the various ways wellbeing manifests in higher education, both centralized and decentralized across campus.
Holistic Student Wellbeing: Examining the Whole of the Person
Wellbeing goes beyond physical and mental health. Our Evolution of Campus 4.0 study uses a comprehensive approach to college student wellness.
Adaptive Reuse: Converting Vacant Buildings into Thriving Spaces
By unlocking the potential of dormant office buildings, adaptive reuse breathes new life into dead zones, revitalizing vibrant mixed-use communities.