- Project Name
- The Erb Memorial Union Renovation & Expansion
- The University of Oregon
- Project Types
- Project Scope
- 154,175 sq. feet
- Year Completed
Lease Crutcher Lewis, CMGC
ABHT Structural Engineer, Structural Engineer
BHE Group, Civil Engineer
Cameron McCarthy, Landscape Architect
Listen Acoustics, Acoustics and AV
- Project Status
- Room or Space
The overall design concept was to restore the original 1950s student union and replace its 70s addition with a bright and open structure that highlights student activity. Before the renovation, the Erb Memorial Union was a segmented “ice cube tray” of opaque program spaces connected by a labyrinth of long, winding hallways. Solid door entries and a lack of glazing hid vibrant student energy, forcing students to actively seek out the opportunities provided by the university.
The renovated building has clear organization and transparency, from the circulation to the group spaces. Along the north side of what’s known as the ‘student street,’ the addition features three stories of glass-walled student suites that entice students and visitors with what’s within. On the south side of the student street, along a light-filled atrium, are expansive windows that overlook a grassy events space and the South side of campus.
The team’s design approach encourages happenstance. Students can now make connections they weren’t seeking out – to activities, friends and causes that enliven their time at the university.
Generous circulation spaces encourage students to pause and interact, to meet and study. A variety of informal seating spaces are arranged within and along this circulation path, and respond to a wide range of student preferences. These spaces include quiet window seats for individual retreat, banquettes with technology for focused group work, large open tables for group dialog, a grand stair to see and be seen, and even soft benches for a restorative nap.The building also includes large unscheduled meeting spaces to allow students to gather and interact. Outside, a new campus green space with technical infrastructure for concerts, parties and formal events is capable of seating nearly 3,000.
Regular engagement of student groups and staff allowed the team to clearly define the scope and understand the nuances of the trade-offs. As a result, the team was able to deliver the renovation and addition within $100,000 of budget. Even more impressive was the $3 million of untapped project contingencies applied to project scope, including a complete renovation of the student union ballroom.
This project is targeting LEED NC Platinum certification.