UNIVERSITY OF OREGON 209 LAB
Architect: Richard Shugar, AIA, LEED AP
Project Manager: Jenna Fribley AIA, LEEP AP
General Contractor: Lee Construction
1180 sf Institutional Remodeling
The objective of this project was to remodel an existing classroom space into a new laboratory suite at the University of Oregon. Programmatically, the scope of the project included a faculty office, a post-graduate/doctoral student office, and a series of student workstations, in addition to the laboratory spaces. The research focus of the user group was dendroecology, the study of tree rings, which required separate dirty and clean rooms for the preparation and analysis of samples.
Spatially, the redesign divides the room into 3 distinct zones, dedicated to investigation, collaboration, and synthesis. The main laboratory space occupies the north end of the room, wrapping the walls with casework and countertop work surfaces in addition to a large central island. The conference area and student workstations share the central zone, divided by a partial-height wall that provides privacy without isolation from natural daylight. At the south end, the offices are arranged to have a direct connection to the collaboration zone, however with the ability to be isolated from the fumes and noise from other spaces.
Aesthetically, the design intent was to give this space a contemporary, dynamic, non-institutional sensibility without compromising the durability or functionality of the space. Exposed natural wood was incorporated into the finish palette to bring some visual warmth into the space, as well as to tie into the nature of the work being performed in the space.
While aesthetics and durability were considerations, the critical factor in the selection of finishes was the toxicity of the materials. One of the challenges for this project was that the primary user suffers from multiple chemical sensitivities, so every material, product and construction method had to be carefully evaluated to determine it was safe for the user. Ultimately, these considerations make the space healthier for all users, as well as the environment, by emitting minimal VOC’s and contributing to better overall indoor air quality.