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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



This thesis explores how natural light can be integrated with built form to create a “performance of light” in architecture. Lighting conditions from a contemporary dance piece, as well as other architectural precedents, were studied, and aspects adapted into the building’s design. In addition to designing theatrical effects of light, the classroom and administrative spaces were designed to take advantage of natural light. Daylight studies were used to inform glazing design and material selection to stay within illuminance thresholds in the spaces.

This project is responding to the facility needs of the campus of UMass Amherst where the program of the dance, theater and music departments are stressed for space, are operating in below-average facilities, and are separated, making collaboration difficult. The programmatic concept driving this design purposely mixes offices, classrooms and rehearsal spaces, creating overlap and collaborative opportunities.

The use of mass timber was also an important aspect of the buildings’ design. Wood brings along many benefits, such as lower embodied energy, carbon sequestration, better thermal properties, and an increase in the perceived quality of architectural spaces. The volume of wood used in the building’s structural system was run through a life-cycle analysis to determine the overall carbon footprint, in relation to the amount of steel and concrete used.


First Advisor

Kathleen Lugosch

Second Advisor

Ajla Aksamija

Included in

Architecture Commons