Willie and Don Tykeson Hall
Client: University of Oregon
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Type: Educational | Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Certified LEED Gold BD+C for New Construction
“Education must not simply teach work – it must teach life.”
– W.E.B. Du Bois
Etched in the concrete at Tykeson Hall’s front door, these words greet visitors to the building and embody its foundational concept. Designed by OFFICE 52 Architecture as a building for student success, Tykeson brings greater efficacy, access, and integration to critical academic programs, curriculum, and services to establish an innovative academic hub that proactively supports thousands of students in their educational and career pursuits each year. Centrally located on campus and designed as the new home for the College of Arts and Sciences, the 64,000 square-foot, $32 million building represents the University’s highest ideals. The LEED Gold design draws beauty and inspiration from its campus context, the environment, and its innovative program to create a more supportive and equitable educational experience for a diverse student body.
The University of Oregon is committed to teaching and empowering all of its students to reach their full potential. Tykeson Hall addresses formerly inherent inefficiencies and inequities in critical advising, career, and academic support services by spatially reorganizing and integrating them in an engaging, outward-facing, and accessible structure with flexible learning environments and a new curriculum focused on mentoring first- and second-year students. Attention is given to those who may be struggling, including first-generation students and those from historically underserved and underrepresented communities. The building’s flowing design creates visual and spatial connections inside and out that encourage movement, reduce barriers to engagement, and foster a greater sense of community.
Tykeson Hall is conceptually organized into three interlocking volumes that relate to the building’s programmatic organization. Each volume is clad with a different primary material: brick for flexible learning environments and state-of-the-art classrooms (100-seats to 24-seats), terra cotta for innovative program features, and glazing for the James Commons. The resulting high-performance enclosure reflects the building’s program, campus context, durability and energy goals. A custom-designed Norman Cross Bond pattern utilizes local brick and embodies the craftsmanship of the neighboring historic campus buildings. Terra cotta – reintroduced to campus after 80 years – is deployed in a rain screen of glazed color that poetically shifts with the changing light, inspired by artistic studies of the regional landscape. As a historic material used in a new way, this material is simultaneously a metaphor for the University’s rich academic history and the building’s innovative and forward-looking program. Transparency, framed views, and thoughtful massing create interplay between interior and exterior spaces as demonstrated by the glassy Commons which flows out onto the adjacent terrace and the interactive landscape of the Ellipse, a new outdoor gathering space designed for classes, events, and daily activity.
“For those of us who get to experience Tykeson Hall as our work environment, I continue to feel privileged to work in such a beautiful building. I am awed at how a very forward-looking building design feels so connected to the place and who we are.” – Dr. Bruce Blonigen, Tykeson Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oregon.
Accessibility, daylighting, and passive building systems increase occupant comfort, energy performance, and resiliency. A five-story light well and open monumental stair intersect all the levels of the building increasing daylight, views, and the sense of community. Susan Narduli’s installation, “Reflectance Field ascending descending”, a commissioned interactive sound-based sculpture, occupies the stair’s center. Inspired by falling rain, the cast aluminum chimes are fabricated in a pentatonic scale and ring gently when tapped as people move up and down the building. Interior palettes on each floor evoke iconic Oregon geographies: the coast (garden level), oak prairie of the Willamette Valley (first floor), the Douglas-fir Forest (second floor), the high desert (third floor), and mountain peaks (fourth floor). Salvaged Pin Oak from site trees removed during construction are re-used for ceilings in select public spaces. Low VOC materials, recycling, and zero-waste programs improve occupant health and reduce environmental degradation.
Tykeson Hall is a place of discovery where diverse students can explore in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment. The project is based on the premise that education in the liberal arts endows students with essential tools for success in a rapidly changing world. These include broad-based knowledge, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. To achieve this, OFFICE 52 Architecture facilitated a planning and design process that engaged constituencies from across the institution, including the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – now housed in the building – to answer the many organizational, operational, and spatial questions posed by this project.
Sustainability is integral to Tykeson’s design with both high-tech and common-sense solutions. The building received LEED Gold certification in 2019. It also met the stringent energy goals of the Architecture 2030 Challenge with a total energy reduction of 77% below benchmarks and an estimated energy use of 34% below the Oregon Energy Code. Tykeson Hall is also one of the first buildings in the Pacific Northwest to integrate post-tensioned concrete slab construction with high efficiency radiant heating and cooling for greater comfort and performance. Other design strategies include active chilled beams, operable windows, ceiling fans, and efficient lighting and occupancy controls. High efficiency plumbing fixtures reduce interior potable water demand by 38%, and new native adaptive landscaping, roof terrace plantings, and drip irrigation decrease exterior water demand by 58%. 100% of predicted site storm water is managed and filtered on site.
Tykeson Hall was completed on schedule and budget. OFFICE 52 Architecture was the Design Architect and led the planning, programming, and design of the building. Rowell Brokaw Architects was the Architect of Record. Additional collaborators included: RMA Studio (programming & furnishings), PLACE Studio (landscape), KPFF (civil), Hohback Lewin (structural), Systems West (MEP+FP), Brightworks (LEED), Rider Levett Bucknall (cost), Glumac (energy), Fortis Construction (CM|GC), Oregon Arts Commission (public art).
Photography by: Christian Columbres, Sinziana Velicescu, and OFFICE 52 Architecture. Drawings, models, and renderings by OFFICE 52 Architecture.
2021 Green Good Design Award, The Chicago Athenaeum (publication reprinted with permission)
2020 Fast Company Innovation by Design Award Honoree
2020 The Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Editors’ Pick
2020 Daily Journal of Commerce Top Projects Award (Architecture of Response Article)
2020 SARA NY Design Award
2020 Certified LEED Gold BD+C for New Construction
2020 Oregon Excellence in Concrete Award
2020 Architectural Record | Material Matters Feature
2020 WOHESC Conference, Addressing Climate Change
2019 The Architect’s Newspaper Facades+ Feature
2019 Brick in Architecture Design Award
2017 CAS Cascade Magazine Project Feature