Environmental Graphics, Storytelling, and Public Art at Tykeson Hall
Client: University of Oregon
The University of Oregon engaged OFFICE 52 Architecture to implement, coordinate, and oversee a comprehensive environmental graphics, storytelling and wayfinding program to enhance the student and visitor experience in Tykeson Hall. OFFICE 52 Architecture guided, reviewed and managed the design and installation of the work affiliated with this program, working with Fortis Construction.
The Tykeson Hall building design established the framework for the conceptual underpinnings and finishes upon which the environmental graphics were built. For the overall building spatial organization, we employed Golden Section proportions in plan and section. As such, the environmental graphics conceptual layout plays upon this geometric idea, in relation to efficiently designed pedestrian circulation. OFFICE 52 also designed the interior of each of the five floors to feature a geographic color palette evoking a distinct Oregon region: Coast (garden/basement level), Willamette Valley (first floor), Douglas-fir forest (second floor), High desert (third floor), and Mountain alpine peak (fourth floor). The finished ceilings of select interior public spaces feature reclaimed wood from construction site trees. The color palette and natural materials for the environmental graphics embraces this interior aesthetic.
Interior installations range from welcome walls and directories to changeable wall graphics and fixed installations that reflect student and alumni stories. All welcome walls feature Braille. Inscribed in the floor of each level are quotes from influential alumni, activists, and notable luminaries. Quotes are also etched in the concrete at each of the building’s principal entries. A bronze replica of a cherished writing journal adorns Amy’s Corner, a café that celebrates the achievements and exuberant yet short life of Amy Frohnmayer, a University of Oregon alumna.
Working with the Oregon Arts Commission, the University, and the broader arts community, OFFICE 52 Architecture participated in the orchestration of an extensive public art program for Tykeson Hall. This included the purchase of over 45 works from local and regional artists by the Oregon Arts Commission and includes an installation in the building’s central open stair by Narduli Studio. With the client we ensured that the storytelling artwork and environmental graphics added a comprehensive layer of meaning to the building design as well as complement the already completed Public Art Program.
The design process for Tykeson Hall began with a Robert Frost poem excerpt introduced by the Dean and the concept of uniting for the common good, with a supportive community environment that challenges each individual to reach their highest potential. The Frost quote is etched into the concrete at the building’s south entry. A companion quote from W.E.B. Du Bois can be found at the building’s north entry. The building is a physical manifestation of what is possible when people collaboratively implement inclusive democratic ideals and embrace past and present knowledge to benefit the future success of students and our planet. Education, mentorship and a greater understanding of each other as diverse people foster peace and stability. This is ultimately a building that’s about that point of view – the diverse community you serve, storytelling, communication and exposure to aspirational possibilities, and helping others voice and answer questions towards empowerment for everyone to succeed in life for the betterment of the world. The journey begins at the trailhead.
OFFICE 52 Architecture was the design architect for Tykeson Hall and worked in collaboration with The Felt Hat on the environmental graphics and storytelling installations. The cast bronze journal installation in Amy’s Corner café is by The Felt Hat. Susan Narduli’s commissioned installation “Reflectance Field” and the public art program for Tykeson Hall was managed and implemented by the Oregon Arts Commission with participation of the design and construction team and the University of Oregon. Rowell Brokaw Architects was the architect of record for Tykeson Hall.
Photography by OFFICE 52 Architecture (Michelle LaFoe and Isaac Campbell) and Sinziana Velicescu.
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Campbell: Virginia Tech Integrated Arts Center
LaFoe: Osaka National Museum of Contemporary