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the Ellipse

Client: University of Oregon

Eugene, Oregon

Landscape Architecture Installation

May 2020

The idea is to create a unique outdoor room as a beautiful place that spatially unites and becomes an extension of the two adjacent campus buildings. The design transforms the space by weaving formal geometry with playful curves and creatively connects to existing pedestrian circulation pathways.  Featuring concentric rotated ellipses that define walkways and seating, sculpted mounds around the north-eastern and south-western edges accentuate the geometry.  Mature tulip and oak trees define the two outer sides of the space opposite the two buildings (Chapman and Tykeson Hall).  A variety of scaled spaces accommodates classes, individual study, small gatherings and current social distancing requirements with six foot spacing as needed (see diagrams).

New plantings promote diverse sustainable ecologies with native grasses and perennials that accentuate the overall design with fields of color and texture of differing heights and perceptual qualities. “At a short distance, the camas’ (purplish-blue) color resembles lakes of bright clear water” (Meriwether Lewis, 1806), and their brief overlap of bloom with existing yellow daffodils along two edges of the site will delight the senses with contrasting tone.  Locally sourced and sustainably fabricated materials for the project’s architectural elements, including exposed aggregate concrete pathways and accessible seating, enhance the regional connection embodied in the new plantings.

The overall design transforms one’s experience with natural systems to create an opportunity to interact with nature within an educational setting.

UO Tykeson Hall, the new building for the College of Arts and Sciences designed by OFFICE 52 Architecture, opens directly onto The Ellipse, on the site formerly known as “The Oval.”

Design team: OFFICE 52 Architecture, LandCurrent, KPFF.