The Phil & Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact (KCASI) is a new initiative to expand the University of Oregon’s strengths in interdisciplinary scientific research and dramatically shorten the timeline between discovery and societal impact. Made possible by a $500 million lead gift from Penny and Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike, who earned a business degree at the UO in 1959, the first phase of this ambitious project is a 160,000 sf world-class facility embracing research, training and entrepreneurship in a nimble scientific enterprise.
The design features two L-shaped towers that face each other as “clasped hands” cradling an elevated terrace and courtyard, joined above by a transparent connector. On the southern façade, a skin of folded glass panels emulates water cascading over rock formations and provides shading for the glass curtain wall behind. Counterbalancing the activity of the public-facing façade, the northern sides of the two towers embrace simplicity in an unadorned glass curtain wall system that reveals the building structure. The design emphasizes transparency to showcase the impact of science to the community.
Inside, the building program is hyper-flexible, enabling research groups to shift focus depending on where discoveries lead. Abundant innovation spaces, collaborative spaces, core labs, research labs and work areas allow building users to work in a variety of settings. Double-height research floors allow for a floating faculty office mezzanine to promote greater interdisciplinary exchange, while glass storefronts under deep overhangs at the ground level engage passers-by. A glass-enclosed pedestrian bridge across Franklin Boulevard connects the core campus to this new district, making an elegantly impactful announcement of the campus across this busy thoroughfare.
For this project, Ennead Architects is responsible for design and Bora, as Architect of Record, is responsible for overall project management and realization. We share important values, believing in the power of human-centered architecture to invigorate scientific communities in search of new discoveries.
The building was designed to reduce energy use by 40% below baseline for a comparable lab building using an array of strategies including a double-skin facade, air-to-water heat recovery, hydronic conditioning, and efficient lighting.
Restoring the Millrace waterway improved the health of the ecosystem, while biophilic design elements addressed the health of occupants. A wellness center and bike-focused amenities promote use of the nearby trail system along the Willamette River and support an active lifestyle.
Spaces supporting active collaboration and focused work alike accommodate varied working styles and preferences, while a comprehensive ergonomics training program and flexible furnishings support needs for all body types.
–2021 AIA Tri-State Design Awards: Merit Award, Architecture
–Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design & The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies: 2021 American Architecture Award
—2021 AIA National Education Facility Design Awards: Award of Excellence
–2021 IIDA Oregon Chapter Awards: Honorable Mention Award in Education
–SCUP 2021 Excellence Awards: Merit Award, SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture for a New Building
Ennead Architects (Design Architect)
AEI Affiliated Engineers
Shen Milson Wilke