HCN News & Notes

Caolo & Bieniek Wins Accessible Design Award for Westfield State University Project

CHICOPEE — Earlier this month at its annual awards gala, the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) presented Caolo & Bieniek Associates Inc. with the 2019 Accessible Design Award for its work at Westfield State University’s Davis Hall. The award honors design excellence in buildings that are accessible for people of all abilities, with an emphasis on projects that exceed the legal accessibility requirements in anticipation of diverse user needs and benefits.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the BSA for our work with the Massachusetts State College Building Authority,” said Curtis Edgin, president and principal architect at the Chicopee-based company. “We have been fortunate to build a trusting and creative relationship over the years with Westfield State and have been able to reflect the university’s focus on creating a welcoming and dynamic environment for its students.”

The residence-hall addition and renovation, designed in coordination with the university and Stegman+Associates Inc., includes new private and multi-user restrooms, providing access to all students. At the heart of the project is an accessible, four-story point of entry, enhanced by the addition of a sleek glass exterior. The entryway includes a two-sided elevator and an inviting common space on each floor. An enclosed walkway allows for a quick and safe connection to the school’s Dining Commons.

“The challenge, as often happens with accessible design, is to create effortless transitions into and between facilities,” said James Hanifan, vice president and principal architect at Caolo & Bieniek. “We feel like we were able to bring this building back to life while staying in strict compliance with accessibility requirements.”