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OSU Cascades Tykeson Hall

OSU Cascades Tykeson Hall

Bend, OR

In 2014, OSU established a satellite presence in Bend to address the vacuum of higher education opportunities for Central and Eastern Oregon residents. This long-awaited institution is the state’s first new, four-year public university to be founded in 50 years and directly responds to the rapid social and economic growth sweeping the region. Bora designed the inaugural 45,000 GSF academic building as a Swiss Army knife, accommodating every department and educational use on the Cascades campus.

The high desert climate and residents’ rugged determination to innovate, without losing their deep connections to the landscape, laid the foundation for an ambitiously sustainable project – a Net Zero-ready building, whose industrial nature, and intentionally minimal design, demonstrate a far-sighted commitment to resource stewardship and energy efficiency.

We embraced utility as an expression of beauty, with acoustic panels throughout the interior serving as a decorative element that is sustainable, cost-effective, and artful. A relatively small footprint meant we could keep structural steel and stairwells exposed, creating a less formal atmosphere. Coupled with generous glazing, every hallway and classroom is flooded with natural light, offering an unexpected expansiveness. We aligned key public spaces on the west end of the building, stacked vertically over 3 floors. Operable windows direct views towards geographic landmarks, allowing the building inhabitants to respond to the climate and maintain a constant connection to Bend’s ecosystem.

Tapping into the heavy role that timber has played in the regional economy, a warm cedar palette marks areas of transition from exterior to interior. Once inside, the material orientation shifts towards Bend’s DIY and maker ethos, with custom-designed study bars, computer lab desks and cabinetry, and welcome hall furnishings crafted from locally-sourced wood. In keeping with OSU’s brand identity, we used the color orange to denote points of interaction. Clean, bold wall graphics serve as wayfinding devices, wrapping corners to be legible from multiple angles, with a subtle playfulness. Tykeson Hall’s flexibility, transparency, and simple elegance make this building a tight hive of activity at OSU Cascades, setting the tone for future growth and community transformation for generations.


45,000 gsf


AIA Portland Chapter Citation Award

Greatest Impact on the Future of Bend, Central Oregon Assoc. of Realtors


Walker Macy