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Tykeson Hall at the University of Oregon

Client: University of Oregon

Eugene, Oregon

Institutional - Art and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at the University of Oregon has partnered with the award-winning design firm OFFICE 52 Architecture to create a first-of-its-kind integrated academic center that brings people together and invites students to engage in multiple ways to maximize student success. The building’s design upholds the college’s academic tenets with sustainable strategies and a modern interpretation of traditional building materials on campus – terra cotta, brick, metal and glass – to make something unique with commonly found materials and bring natural light and an open and welcoming environment to a collaborative liberal arts college devoted to excellence in higher education and beyond.

The building’s design reinforces the college’s core values with transformative spatial concepts for an innovative programmatic vision that restructures how student services and academic programs are physically organized and accessed to create a new building typology for higher education. The new building integrates currently disparate resources on campus in a design for academic advising, career counseling, tutoring, and administrative leadership offices with flexible state-of-the-art learning environments and classrooms, shared meeting rooms, student-focused spaces, event spaces and communal venues.

“Tykeson Hall is a place where each student will be able to chart a personal path through the liberal arts that enriches their intellectual lives and leads to careers. Simply put, it is a building designed for student success,” states W. Andrew Marcus, former Tykeson Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and who spearheaded the project. “Oregon is the first to underscore its dedication to linking personal, academic and career success through the development of a structure designed entirely for those outcomes.”

As such Tykeson Hall is a landmark building for higher education due to the philosophical vision underlying the project. Publications like The Wall Street Journal and Forbes affirm that an increasing chorus of voices from science, business and the high tech world are embracing the value of a broad-based interdisciplinary education in the liberal arts. The building is organized around the belief that such an education in conjunction with academic advising and career guidance under one roof better prepares students for life-long learning and success by giving them open access to these resources while empowering them with foundational skills in critical thinking, creative problem solving, and communication abilities to build a solid foundation for leadership.

The new building is located in the heart of the University of Oregon campus on East 13th Avenue between historic Johnson and Chapman Halls – a central location befitting a building that values physical as well as digital connectivity. CAS is the largest academic unit on campus representing roughly 65% of the university with 42 departments and over 800 faculty dispersed across campus. Tykeson Hall thus includes multiple types of spaces that support CAS’s inclusive culture as a place for students, faculty, mentors, alumni, the broader community and partner organizations to come together, interact, connect and learn. It is a community-oriented place based on the concept of flexibility, integrated functions, forward-thinking technology-based applications and visibly accessible resources for students.

The centrally located campus site provided an opportunity to creatively arrange Tykeson Hall’s massing and materials so they do not overpower the characteristics of surrounding buildings and landscape. Tykeson Hall is conceptually organized into three interlocking forms with proportions in section and plan generally defined by a universal ratio of mathematics ideal to science and the arts. Each of the three forms composing the building has its own tectonic expression related to its program and spatial character: brick with a custom-designed pattern for flexible state-of-the-art classroom spaces, contemporary terra cotta wrapping innovative program features, and high performance glazing for the transparent event space and social hub called The Commons, a communal venue for student events and activities that is topped by a roof terrace with native plantings. On the ground floor the Commons opens onto a new outdoor courtyard and green space designed as part of Tykeson Hall to seamlessly integrate into the open space campus framework, connect to existing pedestrian pathways, and compositionally unite Tykeson Hall with its neighbor Chapman Hall for a vibrant public gathering space.

The building’s exterior is a thoughtfully choreographed design of materials in which brick, terra cotta and glass accentuate one another, a mixture of traditional campus materials infused with modern technology and a regional palette to create a rich experience with attention to craftsmanship and detail. For a modern architectural language, the terra cotta is used beyond simple embellishment and as a primary exterior wall cladding material, and a custom-designed Norman Cross Bond brick pattern was created specifically for this project. This is the first building to use terra cotta on campus in eighty years, melding contemporary geometry with a subtle color field of five custom glazes based on a palette of natural regional landscape colors.

“We created numerous mock-ups for the custom terra cotta glazes to find the right tones to complement the brick and natural colors around the building,” said Michelle R. LaFoe, Principal, OFFICE 52 Architecture. “The appearance of the façade alters depending on the lighting and weather conditions, with fields of subtle color attracting the light in their own way and lending the architecture a corresponding dynamic – no doubt a symbol for the changing array of possibilities one encounters on the pathway towards academic and professional fulfillment.”

To realize its focus on energy efficiency, conservation and sustainable materials, Tykeson Hall is on course to achieve LEED V4 Gold certification, one of the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) highest levels. The new building is designed to use 34% less energy than if it had been built to the Oregon Energy Code minimum and incorporates natural and local resources that support the sustainable and ecological values of the college while enhancing the user experience with materials that connect the new building to its regional campus context.

This includes sourcing locally fabricated brick and the use of Pin Oak and Port Orford cedar trees harvested from the site for the ceilings, wall panels and some of the custom furniture in the building’s public spaces. Additional sustainable features include a highly efficient hydronic radiant heating and cooling systems in a post-tensioned concrete structure, exposed thermal mass, and extensive daylight harvesting on all building levels to create a comfortable, healthy and invigorating interior environment.

For Tykeson Hall, OFFICE 52 Architecture joined forces with a collective of strong industry expertise that will reinforce the project’s success and embrace a philosophically progressive design concept and sustainable stewardship. In addition to the University of Oregon’s College of Arts and Sciences and OFFICE 52 Architecture, the team includes RMA Studio, Brightworks Sustainability, PLACE Landscape Architecture, Rowell-Brokaw as the local Architect-of-Record, and Fortis Construction as the CM|GC.

“We are excited to be part of a project that embodies CAS’ commitment to academic excellence and student success through innovative spatial concepts and a thoughtfully contemporary use of materials,” said Isaac Campbell, Principal, OFFICE 52 Architecture. “The new building represents what CAS truly stands for and better enables them to bring dedicated people together in a meaningful way to enrich the student experience as they face contemporary challenges.”

Construction began on Tykeson Hall in the summer of 2017 and is expected to be complete by July 2019.

>Tykeson Hall Featured in The Architect’s Newspaper

PDF: OFFICE 52 Architecture_UO Tykeson Hall Construction Images April 2019

PDF: Portland Business Tribune

PDF: OFFICE 52 Architecture_UO Tykeson Hall Press Release_ 2019

PDF: Irresistible Challenge Article

PDF: O52 featured in Cascade Magazine

PDF: OFFICE 52 – UO Tykeson Hall in Register Guard

PDF: O52 Featured in Oregon Architect

PDF: Tykeson Hall Materiality and Reclaimed Wood