The Knight Campus’s transformative, the human-centered design will support researchers as they advance the initiative’s mission to shorten the timeline between discovery, development, and deployment of innovations that will have a positive societal impact.
Cover image: © Bruce Damonte Architectural Photographer
The Knight Campus encourages collaboration among researchers from a wide variety of scientific fields and is designed to create greater interactions between them in an environment that prioritizes wellness and optimizes human performance. The building’s massing reinforces the notion of community. The Knight Campus features two L-shaped towers that face each other to cradle an elevated terrace and courtyard, joined above by a transparent connector.
A translucent canopy over the terrace offers protection during the rain, while providing a light-filled outdoor environment to relax, socialize, and connect with nature. The northern sides of the two towers, which fold into the courtyard and terrace, embrace simplicity in a glass curtain wall system that reveals the building structure.
Open, variably scaled workspaces distributed throughout the facility allow research groups to leave their labs and take advantage of different communal environments. The two upper floors of the facility contain interdisciplinary research neighborhoods which bring experimental and computational research together. A 21-foot floor-to-floor height allows for suspended mezzanine structures of mass timber containing offices for faculty, creating a new level of connectivity to their laboratories and graduate students.
The building was programmed to be highly adaptive, allowing research groups to easily shift focus depending on where discoveries lead. Transparency and open space promote communication in the labs and heighten building performance: by reducing the volume of the bench areas, fewer air changes are necessary, and energy usage is diminished. A variety of closed and open computational spaces depending on researchers’ preferences supplement the traditional bench and studio spaces.
The innovation labs have been designed to be rented out by startup businesses in the area, establishing the Knight Campus as a community-enhancing institution aimed at attracting partnerships from all around the world to tackle some of society’s most pressing problems.
The unique double-skin façade signals a connection to the Oregon landscape. Sunlight floods the interior through skin of folded glass panels, emulating water cascading over rock formations and offering views that invite the outdoors inside. High-performance glass shades the lab and office spaces to reduce solar heat gains, improve visual comfort, and emphasize transparency, while putting both nature and science on display. At each of the main entry points, embossed stainless steel walls reflect light from adjacent water features, referencing the nearby Willamette River. The building utilizes cross-laminated timber, connecting with the surrounding environment as well as the local economy. The highly efficient and sustainable campus is on track to be certified LEED Gold.
An enclosed pedestrian bridge connects the new facility back to existing campus research buildings. The bridge has a tied arch design that is self-supporting and simple. It features two splayed arches springing from a common support point on each side of the boulevard and uses tension cables to support the bridge enclosure at its floor structure.
Architects: Bora Architects, Ennead Architects
Area: 225000 ft²
Photographs: Bruce Damonte Architectural Photographer
Manufacturers: AutoDesk, Skyfold, Terrazzo & Marble, Vibia, American Hydrotech, Armstrong Ceilings, Bentley, Bolon, Klein, Lumenpulse, Nora, Novawall, Selux, Sistemalux, Vode, 9 Wood, Bedco, Cooper, DR Johnson, Fabritec, +7
Lead Architects: Design Partner Todd Schliemann and Management Partner Don Weinreich led the Ennead team and John O’Toole and Tom Bauer led the Bora team.
Project description provided by the architects