The New England Wildflower Association chose to build a new visitor and education center at the Nasami Farm located in Whatley, Mass. A key component of the design was that the structure would reflect the agricultural history on which the center was built. Originally the site of tobacco plots and barns, the design of the new visitor and education center remains rooted in the past while placing a modern interpretation on the traditional agricultural barn.
The structure replaced an old unheated green house. Featuring a wood shingle exterior and a
standing-seam roof, architect Daniel Bernstein of Architerra Inc., Boston, looked to the East for
inspiration in reinventing the space as he notes, “We added to it a little Japanese character with its
The Japanese inspiration continues throughout the design and the structure remains unique due
to its lack of rain gutters. “The building has no gutters. When it rains the water drips from the eaves
onto Japanese gravel and perforated pipes that carry the water away from the building to irrigate
plants,” adds Bernstein.
The building retains a natural feel both outside and inside as two large ventilators on the standingseam
roof provide induced natural air conditioning into the building. To create a rustic look with
a modern twist, U.S. Metal Roofing of Holyoke, Mass., installed 12,000 square feet of Perth Amboy,
N.J.-based Englert Inc.’s Series 1300 standing- seam metal roof panels in Dove Gray. The end
result is an old-fashioned barn featuring a modern standing-seam roof with wood accents.
The LEED Gold certified structure houses the visitor and education center as well as staff offices.
Inside the center are radiant heat floors and 7 inches of wall insulation in two layers with additional ecological assets designed by Architerra.
Visitor and Education Center, Nasami Farm, Whatley, Mass.
Owner: New England Wildflower Association
Architect: Architerra Inc., Boston
Metal installer: U.S. Metal Roofing, Holyoke, Mass.
Metal roof panels: Englert Inc., Perth Amboy, N.J., www.englertinc.com