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Tykeson Hall at the University of Oregon

Client: University of Oregon

Eugene, Oregon

Institutional - Interdisciplinary Academic, Art and Sciences

Tykeson Hall is the new interdisciplinary building for the University of Oregon designed by OFFICE 52 Architecture and realized with their project team.  The target LEED v4 Gold project embodies an unique educational philosophy and evokes beautiful aspects of the Oregon region that reinforce a sense of community with an environmentally conscious mission.  The design spatially integrates undergraduate academic curriculum with student services for the first time on campus to provide aligned support for student success and improve educational outcomes.  Intended to serve as a campus destination, the building transforms the area with a cohesiveness that strengthens internal and external connectivity with existing structures and the open campus framework of pedestrian circulation and public gathering spaces.

The program for the 64,000 square foot building includes a new vibrant home for the College of Arts and Sciences and the Dean’s Office, the University Career Center, Academic and Career Advising, Office of the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, as well as a variety of mathematics and writing tutoring areas, flexible state-of-the-art learning environments, classrooms, and student-focused open work spaces for engaged and active dialogue.  Features include one 100-seat, two 70-seat, one 40-seat, and two 30-seat classrooms; one 24-seat seminar; two 24-seat tutoring spaces; open offices, shared meeting rooms, collaborative and individual work spaces, faculty and administrative leadership offices, Amy’s Corner Café and coffee bar, the third floor outdoor Slape Terrace, and a ground floor public meeting space and communal venue called James Commons.  Key to Tykeson Hall’s flexible program are 19 small, shared-use meeting rooms distributed throughout the building for advising sessions, interviews, mentoring or student study that accommodate small group work or focused individual contemplation.

As such, innovatively thoughtful and effective design concepts for classrooms and learning spaces highlight flexibility, adaptability and interactivity.  A sense of openness prevails throughout the building, featuring views and natural light, with transparency and visual site lines amplifying the architecture.  Two sectional design elements – a large light well and central open stair – heighten this experience.  Framed views that feature prominently throughout the interior reconnect occupants to the Willamette Valley campus landscape surrounding the building.  This includes the Eugene Formation, a distinctive geological feature preserving Paleogene period fossils on the garden level.

Accentuating each of the five floors is a specific geographic color palette evoking the Oregon coast (garden level), Willamette region (first floor), Douglas-fir forest (second floor), the high desert (third floor), and mountain alpine peak (fourth floor).  In collaboration with Los Angeles-based Narduli Studio, the central open stair features an installation with a subtle richness of sound texture induced by tactile interactivity.

The building is conceptually organized into three interlocking forms with an overall material palette appropriately related to program and spatial character:  brick for state-of-the-art classrooms, terra cotta wrapping innovative program features, and high performance transparent glazing for the Commons, which opens onto a new outdoor space.  An economically compact footprint and harmonious scale relating to nearby structures reinforces the new building’s contemporary architectural language based on traditional campus materials – namely terra cotta and brick – with a focus on modern craftsmanship and detail.

This is the first campus building to incorporate terra cotta in eighty years, melding innovative performative façade cladding technology with a geometric color field of five custom glazes based on regional landscape tones.  The appearance of the façade alters depending on the season and solar position, with fields of subtle color attracting the light in their own way and lending the architecture a corresponding dynamic.  A custom Norman Cross Bond brick pattern with locally sourced clay enhances the regional connection, and a light grey mortar accentuates the diagonal in the brick pattern. Custom-designed stainless steel light fixtures embrace the terra cotta geometry.  An exposed concrete building interior complements the warm character of Pin Oak wood salvaged from construction site trees for ceilings in select public spaces.

To uphold the university’s environmental commitment to sustainability, Tykeson Hall is on course to achieve LEED v4 Gold certification. The building meets the stringent goals of the Architecture 2030 Challenge with a total energy reduction of 77% and EUI of 25 and is estimated to use 34% less energy than if built to the standard Oregon Energy Code minimum.  This is one of the first buildings in the Pacific Northwest to integrate post-tensioned concrete slab construction with a high efficiency hydronic system, exposed thermal mass, and active chilled beams.  In addition, outside storm water from the building’s roof collects in rain gardens to return it to the aquifer.

Abundant daylight illuminates all work spaces with locally made and assembled high performance glazing, and low VOC materials prevail throughout.  Enhanced connectivity with the adjacent Chapman Hall thrives due to a newly shared outdoor plaza and green space with a dynamic arrival sequence integrated into the existing university masterplan of open spaces and pedestrian pathways.

Photography by Michelle LaFoe, Isaac Campbell, Sinziana Velicescu, Christian Colombres, copyright 2019.  All rights reserved. Digital or print use by written permission only.

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