The 60,000 sf Ford Alumni Center is a model for 21st century higher education work environments and public spaces that connect communities. The building is the new “front door” for the University, housing an interactive campus visitors center, a 200-seat ballroom and offices for the University Office of Development, Alumni Association and University Foundation. The ground floor, Oregon Story, interactive multi-media experience serves as a launching point for prospective students’ campus tours and invites building users to explore the legacy of the institution and its graduates through touch-activated tables and 9 ft high sliding “cascade panels.” A ten-foot fireplace in the lobby offers an inviting atmosphere, creating an casual space for studying and meeting. Each floor overlooks the light-filled atrium where views throughout the entire building connect users creating a strong sense of community. All department conference rooms, lounges and meeting spaces are grouped together along the outside wall allowing flexibility of use throughout the day and evening. Intimate lounge spaces bookend each floor providing a place for impromptu, casual meetings.
The design creates one of the most innovative office workspaces for higher education achieving maximum flexibility with a raised floor system, movable walls and open office furnishings. The open plan design is so adaptable that it has already accommodated several program organization changes during construction and is designed to transform over time in response to changing needs. The linear floor plate and atrium bring natural light and views to every work space. An Oregon fir wood screen provides visual privacy for office spaces and creates a warm interior. Original art was integrated into the design including wood carvings by the renowned sculptor Rick Bartow and a 9 x 18 foot oil canvas by celebrated artist Lucinda Parker.
The facility was built concurrently with the adjacent Matthew Knight Arena project and sits above a 300 car underground parking structure that serves both projects. The exterior design reflects the adjacent Arena through the use of aluminum panels and glass curtain walls. The Alumni Center is registered for LEED Gold certification.
Opsis Architecture served as the Architect of Record and Interior Architect. TVA Architects served as the Building Architect.