Upcoming Events, Tours & Activities

Brutalism + the Public University: Past, Present, and Future

Friday, October 22 at UMass Dartmouth - Saturday, October 23, 2021 at UMass Amherst

A two-day symposium will take place across two UMass campuses in celebration of our Brutalist heritage and sponsored by UMass Brut. The topics will include architectural history, urbanism and design, public art, and concrete restoration technologies and sustainability. Our goal: to bring together scholars and practitioners to discuss the significance of our Brutalist campus architecture and thus elicit a public discussion about the importance of its preservation. Registration required.


"Standing in Silhouette: The Southwest Dormitories at UMass" Exhibition

September 1 - December 8 UMass Amherst Fall Semester, Greenbaum Gallery at Elm House (entrance on Hicks Way) at 145 Commonwealth Avenue, UMass Amherst

Student exhibition open Fall 2021 in conjunction with the "Brutalism and the Public University: Past, Present and Future" Symposium. Free and open to the public. Opening reception at the Greenbaum Gallery, November 6, 2021, 11 am.


"Brutalism in Color" Exhibit

UMass Amherst, October 20 - 31, Randolph W Bromery Center for the Arts lobby, 151 Presidents Drive, UMass Amherst

Opening on October 15 - 31, 2021 in conjunction with the "Brutalism and the Public University: Past, Present and Future" Symposium. Free and open to the public.

“Brutalism in Color” presents the renowned Brutalist architecture of UMass Amherst and UMass Dartmouth in new and colorful ways. Featuring brightly colored archival photography, original artwork by Lincoln Nemetz-Carlson, PhD, and representations of recent renovations to Brutalist interiors, the exhibition will focus on different ways architects, designers, and caretakers have employed color in and around our Brutalist structures. The exhibit highlights the use of textiles, water, paint, and art not only to connect Brutalism to its original vibrant context of the 1960s and 1970s, but also to portray these architectural masterpieces in an entirely new light.


UMass Amherst Campus Walking Tour: "Southwest Residential Area, Whitmore, Herter, Tobin, Lincoln Campus Center"

Saturday, October 23, 4:00pm – 5:30pm. Start at the Randolph W. Bromery Center for the Arts Plaza at 151 Presidents Drive, Amherst

Free and Open to the Public; RSVP by filling out this form: https://form.jotform.com/umassbrut/umass-brut-walking-tour

Tour Guides:

Lincoln Nemetz Carlson, PhD, Graduate Researcher, Campus Planning, University of Massachusetts Amherst

P. Alexander Stoicheff, Graduate Researcher, Campus Planning, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Visitor Parking Options (visit Where to Park - Transportation Services - UMass Amherst):

Park at the Campus Center Parking Garage (cost is $1.75/hour), at a metered parking space on Presidents Drive or the adjacent visitors lot (cost is $1.50/hour). Meters are enforced from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Tour Description:

The UMass Amherst campus was established under the Morrill Land Grant in 1863. Today it is the flagship of the five-campus University of Massachusetts system, serving a community of over 36,000 in approximately 13.4 million square feet of buildings. Its most significant enrollment growth occurred after World War II with over 10 million square feet of space built within 20 years with a change in scale from rural to a more urban campus consisting of dense neighborhoods and towers, based on the 1963 master plan by Hideo Sasaki. Making UMass a veritable showcase of Brutalism at its zenith, UMass Amherst commissioned the landmark Fine Arts Center (1974) by Kevin Roche (recently renamed the Randolph W. Bromery Center for the Arts) and Lincoln Campus Center by Marcel Breuer (1970) as well other key structures by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Edward Durrell Stone and Hugh Stubbins. The tour will start at the Fine Arts Center (Kevin Roche, 1973), and walk on the campus grounds, viewing Herter Hall (Coletti Borthers, 1968), Whitmore Hall (Campbell & Aldrich, 1967), Southwest Residential Complex (Hugh Stubbins & Assoc., 1965-68), Tobin Hall (Coletti Borthers, 1972), Dubois Library (Edward Durell Stone, 1972), Lincoln Campus Center (Marcel Brewer, 1970), and Lederle Graduate Research Center (Campbell, Aldrich & Nulty, 1971-1973)

Past Events, Tours & Activities: (Both campuses host an array of tours, gallery exhibits, lectures, and other activities that contribute to the UMassBrut mission.)


UMass Dartmouth

Creative Economy Grant for Virtual Tour Paul Rudolph's Brutalist Campus 2019-2020

Docomomo US Tour Day 2020

Tour for Society of Architectural Historians 72nd Annual International Conference 2019

A Visionary Campus Exhibition, 2018 (Art History Capstone)

Tour for New England Architectural Historians, 2017

Tour for Providence Preservation Society, 2017


UMass Amherst

Brut Bites (April 1-May 3, 2021) The Amherst History Society partnered with the Public History Department of UMass, to introduce a series of lectures on the evolution of architectural design on the UMass campus.

April 12 : UMass Then/Now (click title to see video)

Speakers: Ron Michaud and Ludmilla Pavlova-Gillham

Description: The UMass campus has always been a place of dynamic change. By pairing archival photographs with contemporary images, retired faculty member Ron Michaud and Senior Campus Planner Ludmilla Pavlova-Gillham will invite participants to reflect on how the campus has changed over time. What’s been lost? What’s been gained?

April 19: The History and Cultures of the Southwest Residential Area (click title to see video)

Speaker: Timothy M. Rohan

Description: Completed in 1968, the towers of the Southwest Residential Complex have made a big impact on our local landscape. What is the history of this large complex, which can house up to 5500 students? What does it tell us about modern architecture, the campus, the community, and the region in the 1960s and after? How did its diverse communities create their own unique cultures within this “big city”-like environment?

April 26: Unbuilt UMass: A History of Campus Master Plans (click title to see video)

Speaker: Ludmilla Pavlova-Gillham

Description: The UMass campus is familiar to many, but was it always going to look the way it does today? How has the campus been envisioned over time? What forces and priorities shaped the plans that we recognize today, and what other plans were never realized? Peek inside the history of campus master plans with Senior Campus Planner Ludmilla Pavlova-Gillham to explore the evolving vision for the UMass Amherst campus, from its beginning to the present.

May 3: The History of the Randolph W. Bromery Fine Arts Center (click title to see video)

Speakers: L. Carl Fiocchi and Margaret Vickery

Description: Since its founding in 1975, The Randolph W. Bromery Center for the Arts (formerly Fine Arts Center) has been a central force in the cultural, social and academic life of the Town of Amherst, the University, the Five College campuses, and the Pioneer Valley. This uncompromisingly modern concrete building consists of several distinctly different units which are combined to form a powerful architectural sculpture. It was conceived as a gateway to the campus at the south end of the pond and its monumental arcade serves as a pedestrian link between the east and west campus on what was formerly Ellis drive. The complex contributes to both positive and negative perception of Brutalist concrete buildings and its history is marred with celebrations as well as expressions of discontent. The presenters will discuss the history of its development and address the myths and perceptions related to its aesthetic and environmental appeal (and lack thereof). The audience will be invited to share memories of its impact on life in Amherst and the surrounding community.

Docomomo US Tour Day 2018

Recap: UMass Amherst + Brutalism - Origins, Evolution, and Future - Engaging Public Dialogue: Event Recap

October 20th 2018, 50+ students, faculty and staff, among industry professionals and the general public gathered on the UMass Amherst campus to learn and discuss the university’s brutalist architectural history.




UMass Dartmouth Activities

At UMass Dartmouth, the College of Visual & Performing arts has been a leader in moving these efforts forward with faculty and staff in the departments of art history, art education, interior architectural design, gaming, studio arts and graphics design. Faculty, librarians, gallery director, staff members from campus planning and administration, and students have joined together to sponsor activities that brings community awareness of the UMass Dartmouth's Paul Rudolph' iconic Brutalist campus.


UMass Amherst Activities

At UMass Amherst, individuals from the departments of architecture, historic preservation, art and architectural history, public history, landscape architecture and building conservation technology have come together as well as several staff from Campus Planning and Design and Construction Management. Together these individuals helped to establish a monthly Think Tank that was hosted from October 2019 - March 2020 to brainstorm ideas and create the foundation for future collaboration.