Creating a greener WAM
In 2022, the 50-year-old windows in the Higgins Education Wing were replaced with new, energy efficient, thermal pane units. This project improves energy efficiency by maintaining heat during winter and reflecting solar gain in summer, while keeping studio, public gathering, and office spaces comfortable year-round. It also helps make the Museum’s building more environmentally sustainable by reducing energy use and contributing to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
The original single-pane windows, installed when the wing was constructed in 1968, were in poor condition. Rusted steel frames, cracked glass, and inadequate thermal performance made this window upgrade a priority and part of an overall campus improvement plan outlined in the Museum’s Strategic Plan 2022-2027. Care was taken to maintain the original mullion configuration and as much of the original detail as possible in the replacement windows.
While work was being done on the windows, the Museum took the opportunity to refresh the wing with new carpets, paint, updated lighting, reinstalled handrails, and more. This project included an update to the Open Door Gallery, a collaboration with Seven Hills Foundation, on the first floor. The wing is also home to the Museum’s newly reimagined library, opened in early 2023.
Built by The Architects Collaborative (TAC)—an internationally renowned firm co-founded by the German architect and Bauhaus founder, Walter Gropius—the Higgins Education Wing is historically significant. It is also vital to the Museum’s mission and ability to serve our community with studio art classes and public programming. This upgrade, planned in coordination with Worcester and Massachusetts Historical Commission (WHC/ MHC), ensures the education wing remains a safe, comfortable, and inspiring space for many years to come.
The Higgins Education Wing Window Replacement Project is supported in part by the Museum’s Facility Reserve Fund, created by the George I. Alden Trust and Stoddard Charitable Trust. Funding is also provided by an anonymous foundation and the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, a program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, co-administered by MassDevelopment and the Mass Cultural Council.
Construction Manager: Kaplan Construction
Structural Engineer: Caputo & Wick
Mechanical/Plumbing Engineer: Seaman Engineering
Electrical Engineer: Shepherd Engineering
OPM: Conform Lab