Launch Slideshow

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Continuity & Contrast

Working with a 1915 building, SRG Partnership reveals a sustainable renovation at Portland State University.

Continuity & Contrast

Working with a 1915 building, SRG Partnership reveals a sustainable renovation at Portland State University.

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    Charles Ingram

    The open-plan studios are designed to be both workspaces and gallery spaces for student and professional work.

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    Kelly James

    Playing off of the rough texture of the building’s frame, large pivoting steel doors give spaces such as the second-floor architecture faculty offices flexibility, as does the custom-crafted metal paneling that adds definition to the faculty offices in the open-plan space.

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    In the hallways, glazed glass walls allow daylight to flood in from the perimeter.

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    Shattuck Hall’s original structure, including the neoclassical brick façade from 1915, was preserved and used as a central design element in the renovation.

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    Third Floor Crit Space and Second Floor Corridor Sectional

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    In the hallways outside of the third-floor studios, tackable, movable panels provide space for additional display or critiques.

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    Throughout the space, the merging of concrete, glass, and steel emphasizes.

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    In the interior studios, the mechanical systems are left exposed so that the architecture students studying below can use them as learning tools.

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    In terms of the mechanical systems, upgrades to the building included installing radiant heating and cooling panels which, in the student resource room, are purposefully on display overhead.

In the fall of 2008, a renovated Shattuck Hall at Portland State University (PSU) in Portland, Ore., opened its doors to expose much more than hallways and classrooms. The 66,000-square-foot building houses the School of Fine & Performing Arts’ Department of Architecture, and the project peeled away the existing building fabric to unveil a blend of existing systems and passive technology for student instruction. Now, the concrete bones of the original 1915 structure, a network of concentric arcs of the original ductwork, and state-of-the-art radiant heat and cooling panels are easily visible.

“Rather than slide in state-of-the-art sustainability behind the scenes, we wanted to reveal how a 100-year-old building could be reinvigorated into a contemporary school of architecture,” notes Clive Knights, chair of PSU’s Department of Architecture.

Shattuck Hall initially opened as an elementary school, but the three-story structure became part of the PSU campus in 1969. A $13 million deferred maintenance budget was approved in 2006 to retrofit the mechanical and electrical systems, improve seismic performance, and provide better ADA access by 2008. Architects at Portland’s SRG Partnership orchestrated the renovation and employed passive design strategies to capitalize on project elements and stretch the allotted funds further.

Two fan rooms serve every classroom with mechanical supply and return through a comprehensive series of metal ducts. Although the network was inadequate for heating and cooling, it was perfect for ventilation. “The system is a work of art that students can now see,” says SRG principal Kent Duffy. “We suspended radiant heating and cooling panels from the ceilings to take the load off the ducts and retained the system to bring fresh air into every classroom.”

The radiant panels provide additional benefits as acoustic treatments and reflectors of indirect light. The designers grouped the 3-foot-by-5-foot panels together, leaving gaps between the panels that allow lights and fans to hang down. The radiant panels operate from a closed-loop system. Water passes through a heat exchanger in the building that either heats or cools the water depending on the season and sends it to the ceiling system. In the student lounge, the panels are flipped upside down so students can view the copper tubing through which the water circulates.

With the new ceiling fans, the exposed thermal mass of the concrete and brick structure, and the building’s operable windows, the team was able to expand the occupants’ comfort range by 5 degrees. Most designs assume an average range of 68 F to 73 F. In Shattuck Hall, the upper limit of the comfort range has been increased to 78 F. Duffy attributes this success to the use of ceiling fans, as good air circulation has a huge effect on people’s comfort levels. The current operational efficiency has an Energy Use Index (EUI) of less than 46. EUI is calculated by dividing by the building’s gross square footage by the annual consumption of all fuels in Btu; a typical academic facility’s EUI is up to three times that of Shattuck Hall. Financially, the efficient system is saving the university $13,500 per year in operational costs.

Other efficiency measures in the LEED Goldcertified building include occupancy-sensor lighting, timed shut-offs, daylight sensors, a new telecommunications distribution network, and waterless urinals and low-flow fixtures. More than 95 percent of the building materials were reused or recycled during the renovation.

A previous renovation filled in one of two original light wells with an elevator shaft. This time, the design team relocated that elevator and uncovered the light well that had been filled, to bring more daylight into the building’s upper two levels as well as into a partially below-grade first floor.

Fundraising supported creative features to serve student needs. “We were constrained by the budget for existing system upgrades, but $500,000 of donor money helped us add items like skylight improvements, moveable tackboard walls, steel panels creating casework, and two large pivoting interior doors,” says Barbara Sestak, dean of fine and performing arts at PSU.

Each pivoting door of 1/2-inch-thick steel and glass can be moved at 90-, 45-, or 30-degree angles to easily join or divide space on the second floor, allowing flexible use of that area as a reading room, faculty meeting space, or room for large student gatherings. Custom-designed formed-steel panels that partition an office area from the flexible space display etched laser lines that show where each cut and fold was intended.

“They serve as a 3D set of working drawings for students,” says Duffy. “The exposure of the systems and materials throughout helps architecture and fine art students become informed about the aspects of design to plan and create with those in mind.”

KJ Fields writes about sustainability and architecture from Portland, Ore.


GREEN TEAM

Architect, interior designer: SRG Partnership, srgpartnership.com

Client, owner: Portland State University, pdx.edu

Mechanical engineer, electrical engineer: PAE Consulting Engineers, pae-engineers.com

Structural engineer: Catena Consulting Engineers, catenaengineers.com

Geotechnical engineer: Geotechnical & Environmental Consultants

Construction manager, general contractor: Howard S. Wright Construction Co., hswcompanies.com

Landscape architect: GreenWorks, greenworkspc.wordpress.com

Lighting designer: Luma Lighting Design, lumald.com

MATERIALS AND SOURCES

Acoustical system: Tectum, tectum.com

Building management systems and services: Siemens, siemens.com

Carpet: Interface, interfaceglobal.com

Ceilings: Armstrong; TWA Panel Systems, twapanels.ca

Flooring: Mannington Mills, mannington.com; Nora Systems, nora.com

Interior walls: Bobrick, bobrick.com

Lighting control systems: Lighting Control & Design, lightingcontrols.com

Roofing: Johns Manville, jm.com

Wallcoverings: Forbo, forbo.com

Windows: EFCO, efcocorp.com