"Gifted people who want to do wonderful things"

Been passing through a decade of work and writing, mulling over where things stand and where I want things to go. In the midst of all that introspection, I came across a blog entry of mine citing the AIGA website as a consistent source of courage and inspiration. It called attention to an Elizabeth Coleman presentation to the 2009 AIGA conference https://www.aiga.org/video-makethink-2009-coleman Elizabeth Coleman was the president of Bennington College from 1986 to 2013 and continues to discuss liberal arts education. As I noted in that blog post: Elizabeth Coleman has her act together.

We've begun schematic design work for a new academic building in the heart of Nichols College campus. Another extraordinary opportunity for us at Nichols and continuing expression of faith in JPF by our client. In the meantime, here is our Fels Student Center at Nichols, dedicated November 16, 2012. Lauring Construction of Worcester, General Contractors.

Summer 2012

We've been busy, still and we're getting busier, with the potential for being even busier. Summer has slipped past us but we've got the Nichols Student Center pretty much done and the Elms College Center for Natural and Health Sciences in the groud, at last. There are at least five irons in the fire, all in varying states. We're planning on posting photos of Nichols soon.

Nichols Athletics

We've been working on designs for renovation and expansion of the Athletic Facilities at Nichols College. It's a complicated project since much of the building needs to remain in operation throughout the year. Illustrated above is Phase One.

Stoneleigh Burnham Dining Commons

We've prepared a few schematic renderings for Stoneleigh Burnham School in Greenfield, an extension of our master plan work there over the last several months.

November 2011

We usually use the "Thanksgiving Break" to sit back and reflect on what we've done and where we're going. So... here is where we are: Nichols College Student Center is well under way. The structural work, foundations and steel frame are nearly complete and we expect the exterior metal stud work will begin soon. We've got a substantial start on the Nichols President House, working with a sterling building committee, and our "kickoff meeting" for the Nichols Athletics and Recreation Master Plan is set for December 1.
Nichols has made incredible strides in the last five years and we're enormously grateful to be working with them on that progress.

Elms College Science, Mathemetics and Technology Center is in the midst of working drawings and it is shaping up for bidding in early February 2012. We're pleased with how this building is shaping up and we've gotten to the point where we expect to see the built building when we walk on campus. Groundbreaking remains several months away once Spring 2012 is in the books.

Stoneleigh Burnham School Master Plan is complete. We have really enjoyed working with everyone at this wonderful school and we're very optimistic that they have the leadership and "message" to raise money and get cracking. We'd love to continue working with SBS, much like we've done with Nichols.

We've clearly moved away from public projects these days. Given their scarcity and the near desperate bidding going on in this sector, we're pleased to be thriving without it. We're working hard to be able to maintain that point of view.


We have reached the middle of 2011, still working on several great projects while laying the groundwork for the future. Three projects, O'Leary Renovations at Elms College, Franklin County Community Health Center and the Campus Center at Nichols College are under construction. A new Academic building for Elms College is in design development and we are about halfway through a master plan for Stoneleigh-Burnham School.

We have a backlog of projects including the South End Community Center, Kuppenheimer Hall Renovations at Nichols College, a new Northampton Residence and Berchmans Hall Renovations at Elms College. I might very well be forgetting one or two things as well. It is all compelling work, so much so that you just can't turn away from any of it. President's Residence at Nichols College, I knew I was forgetting something.

We're also planning a Fall fundraiser for the UMASS Museum of Contemporary Art at our studios and working towards funding an appearance by Howard Gardner in 2012, more details to follow on that one.

So the early mornings continue.

Summer 2011

Our Campus Center project at Nichols College is getting started. Elms Science Center is moving into design development and we just had our initial meeting with the kind folks at Stoneleigh Burnham School on their master plan.

Trustee Meetings

Our first two weeks of May are usually dominated by Trustee meetings. This year we've got May 6 Nichols College meeting to approve construction of their new campus center followed by May 13 Elms College Trustee presentation for their new Elms Science Center. These meetings are usually followed by the summer slammer push to get work done while students are away from campus.

Nichols Campus Center

Our Nichols Campus Center numbers are in, just a tick over $250 per square foot. Great number, great project, looking forward to going in the ground in May.

Ruminations at 4 AM

It has been a compelling month with an enormous amount of work completed. Nichols Campus Center has hit the streets. We're waiting, anxiously, for a GMP from Lauring Construction. We also put out a health center renovation job and are about to put out a schematic design estimate package for Elms College Science Center. The pipeline is still chock full of work which explains the never ending early rise.

There does seem to be a fair amount of competition out there still but things are picking up, at least from our point of view. The last month, or so, of sixteen hour days has taken a bit of a toll, but the work is good, very good.

We try to stay in touch with "the market" through conversations with several contractors, general and sub, sales representatives and vendors. There has been consistent comments about materials and equipment increases of ten to fifteen percent, across the board, due to increase in fuel costs.


We're about to begin predesign and schematic phase of a new science building at Elms College in Chicopee. It's a relatively small footprint, 4200 gross square feet, sited between Berchmann and O'Leary, both built in 1929.

Here's a link to my presentation at the Carle Museum for "Ignite Amherst" 2011. http://blip.tv/file/4775358 provided by Amherst Media. This was one of a series of 14 presentations that evening, just about all of which were pretty fascinating and incredibly well done. You can follow the links to see the other presentations that evening. Great format, full house of 150 folks and an inspiring lot of ideas percolating out of our valley.

Alas, part 2

Word has come down that we are not quite worthy of selection for the Mason Square / Indian Motocycle project. Lost out, yet again, to a Boston firm. Ample frustration certainly, but it was an honor to be shortlisted. I do have to say that there is minimal support from local folks to hire local architects despite our best efforts to convince them otherwise. Renovation projects in particular are notoriously difficult during construction given the onslaught of concealed conditions and vagaries of as built documentation. Proximity is definitely helpful and being two hours proximate doesn't necessarily help.

On a more positive note, bids came in for our O'Leary project at Elms College approximately 85K below budget. We're hopeful that Elms will use these savings to continue forward momentum on other projects we have been working with them on. Colleges are facing high expectations from potential students coupled with increasing competition from other institutions building better and more expensive space for those same students. Smaller institutions, like Elms, face hard choices.


Alas, it has been awhile since our last post in October. An indicator, perhaps of our own slothful approach to life, or, more accurately, we have been way too busy to bother singing our praises.

So things roll along for Juster Pope Frazier, we are deep into the Nichols Campus Center construction documents having received initial budgets from our construction manager, the inimitable brothers Lauring at Lauring Construction, Worcester, MA.

We have been shortlisted and suitably interviewed for a historic adaptive reuse project for American International College in Springfield, MA. Waiting on final decisions on that one, though to our mind.... The selection process remains still a mystery to me. Do not spindle, fold or mutilate, as the saying goes.

February 8 brings presentation on the "Making of the Carle" for Ignite Amherst, one of a series of presentations that night on making things to be held in the auditorium of the Carle. How convenient is that. Initial gnashing of teeth accompanied by the customary self loathing is usually a precursor to what should be an interesting evening and an entertaining five minutes on my part.

Norwich University

We were very pleased to provide a tour of the Eric Carle Musem to a group of first year architecture students from Norwich University in Vermont. Particularly pleased to get former principal of Juster Pope Frazier, Earl Pope, back to lead the students in discussion of the design and concepts of the Carle. Special thanks to Alix Kennedy, executive director of the Carle for her hospitality and continued dedication to the vision of Eric and Bobbi Carle.

It's been nearly five years now since Earl retired from our firm so it was great to have him back to spend a few hours with us. Having Earl, Jack and Norton as mentors and colleagues has endowed our firm with a tradition and culture that is fun, creative strong and sustaining. They are generous, creative souls and we are very, very grateful and respectful of their contributions over the many years of JPF.

Anna Schuleit

We are very, very pleased to host Anna Schuleit this evening at Juster Pope Frazier. Anna first came to our attention in November 2000 with her sound installation "Habeas Corpus" at the Northampton State Hospital. After several fellowships and a MacCarthur Foundation Fellowship in 2006, she has made her way back to the Valley with her painting "Just a Rumor" for the University Gallery at the University of Massachusetts.

Anna is a spectacular person and a superb artist with a world class mind. You can see more of her work at anna-schuleit.com or swing by the North side of the Fine Arts Center.

Nichols Student Center

Nichols College, located in Dudley, Mass. was founded in 1815. The College has been working with Juster Pope Frazier since 2006 on a series of new buildings along Center Road. The new student center is located at the center of campus on Center Road. The design draws on existing campus vernacular while offering a suitable terminus for the historic Nichols Common.