Sunday, December 20, 2015

Brick By Brick

West Experiment Station back in June

Let's hope UMass has not bitten off more than they can chew with the West Experiment Station reconstruction project to make way for the new $100 million Physical Sciences Building.

 West Experiment Station 11/29/15

As of today the historic old building has been completely dismantled and will hopefully be reassembled by 2018, integrated into the new Physical Sciences Building, for a unique blending of the old and the new.

West Experiment Station today

Trolley Station on North Pleasant Street, built 1911 trashed June, 2012 by a contractor without full approval


Dr. Ed said...

Gone, we'll never see either again....

Anonymous said...


Do you have any facts to back that up? Other than extreme resentment towards UMass?

Anonymous said...

Ed's extreme resentment IS a fact.

Dr. Ed said...

What my own two eyes see. They are gone, as in not there, that is a fact.

I highly doubt we'll ever see a REPLICA of them either -- it's been 3.5 years now and no trolley shelter replica -- but at best they will be replicas.

Like imitation Vanilla versus the real thing -- the real thing is gone.

And it is not just "extreme resentment" but "visceral hatred" and you will see that when my book comes out -- with a free copy sent to every high school guidance counselor in the state.

Give me what I want and I will go away...

Anonymous said...

Ed, you are exhausting.

UMass has every intention of saving the building. First of all-and they made this clear- in order for this building to be used today, it needed extensive accessibility and utility upgrades. The mortar used for the bricks was poor and the foundation wasn't all that great either. Bottom line is this building was not built to last. The best thing in terms of preserving what is an architectural gem is to rebuild it.

In terms of what they've done with the components of the building...all the bricks have been cleaned, stacked and stored. The trim work and arches made of brick have been stored on special boxes in their shape so they can be properly reinstalled. Interior fixtures were saved as well.

UMass has even produced a video highlighting this project, so feel free to absorb some actual information!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry. Ed's impervious to information.

Dr. Ed said...

Having seen UMass administrators commit criminal offenses with impunity, "criminal" as in "...six months imprisonment...", please understand that I have zero confidence that UMass will actually ever build a REPLICA of either building.

ALL 19th Century mortar was poor -- they weren't using a mortar containing "Portland" (actually Rockland) Cement as was done in the 20th Century, and is still somewhat done today.

The only reason "used bricks" were even available (and now are increasingly hard to find) was that the weaker mortar was easy to remove from demo debris -- while the demolished WPA-built buildings now lie under North Village in large chunks of intact bricks & mortar.

BUT, you don't tear down a building to repoint the bricks -- nor must you to improve the foundation. UMass is really good at spin but still spews bull.

Anonymous said...

Ed's right here: the idea was that "soft" lime-based mortar allowed for thermal expansion and vibration absorption, without cracking the bricks: while not a "strong" as Portland cement mortars, and more susceptibly to shear forces, this building could have been left in place - along with the many large trees which surrounded it - and the new building could have been designed to compliment it (but that would have been more expensive).

Our "replica" will be a bit like the Disney castle, which is a "replica" of Ludwig's Neuschwanstein castle in Bavaria. Just as children prefer the Disney version, so the planners at UMass… - oh, fuggetaboutit!

Anonymous said...

Sure, Ed, sure. Share the fantasy.