Design Challenge

Near the base of Mount Greylock and adjacent to the 12,500 acre Mount Greylock State Reservation, is Greylock Glen, a property owned by the Town of Adams. The town completed a master plan for the development of this parcel, and identified a net zero outdoor center as the first building proposed for construction on the site. The goal of the project is to draw visitors to the area to help grow the local economy with a building that emphasizes the natural beauty of the site and dramatic views of Mount Greylock. The town is committed to net zero energy to minimize long-term operating, making the investment sustainable for long-term public ownership.


Maclay Architects worked with residents and town officials to bring new life to this development project. Site visits and conversations with various partners helped our office determine elements that would ensure this project is successful in achieving the town's goal of attracting visitors for recreational enjoyment during all four seasons.

The design minimizes the ecological footprint and disturbance of the natural site and connects directly to a recently constructed recreation path that loops through the Glen. The building design includes a large central gathering space oriented toward the mountain. Large round timbers anchor the space within the surrounding natural wooded areas, and these timbers connect to the site in the design of arbors and solar carports. Adjacent to the central area is an exhibit space and a café with an all-electric kitchen, aligned with the net zero energy use. The south wing houses an outdoor center for bike and cross-country ski equipment rentals, while the north end is proposed for use by Mass Audubon for educational events and camps. The building will contain educational signage to highlight the environmental features.

The landscaping adjacent to the building will feature rain gardens and native plantings. Terraces will draw people outdoors to connect with the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

With the Massachusetts SMART program, the outdoor center will produce more electricity than it will use, through solar generation. Within twenty years this solar investment will be paid for with few or no ongoing energy costs.

Project Details


Adams, MA

Proposed Construction Start:

Fall 2020


9,900 sf

Energy Intensity:

37 kBtu/sf (modeled)