Oregon mass timber athletic center exceeds energy efficiency requirements

The new mass timber athletic center at the Oregon Episcopal School (OES) in Portland utilizes a highly efficient envelope, passive cooling, and minimal mechanical conditioning to achieve an 82 percent reduction in energy use from the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption (CBEC) baseline, with an energy use intensity (EUI) of 15 kBtu/sf/year.

Crafted by the firm Hacker with resilience in mind, the OES Athletic Center has been engineered to adhere to more rigorous seismic standards, ensuring it can serve as a sanctuary and resource for both the OES community and the surrounding area in the event of a seismic disturbance. Featuring a remarkably efficient building envelope, a passive cooling approach, and reduced reliance on mechanical conditioning, this structure aims for peak performance. It not only fulfills the Energy Trust of Oregon’s Path to Net Zero requirements, but also aligns seamlessly with the objectives set forth by the Architecture 2030 Challenge.

The athletic center underwent a significant transformation, with a 2,043 m (22,000 sf) renovation and a 1,858 m (20,000 sf) expansion. It now houses the physical education and athletic departments and serves as the primary multi-purpose gathering space for the entire OES community.

OES’s goal was to create a safe and supportive environment for all students, regardless of their interest or skill level in sports. This involved converting an aging gymnasium building into a vibrant new facility that supports varsity team sports and physical education (PE) classes.

The design process was heavily influenced by input from OES students and the athletic department staff, with a focus on accommodating mixed-gender teams and coaches of varying genders.

In line with the commitment to inclusivity, equity, and forward thinking, the design replaces traditional locker rooms with versatile, all-purpose team rooms. These spaces encourage team building among student-athletes of all skill levels and genders by reclaiming underutilized areas and eliminating features such as showers and lockers.

Situated at the north end of the campus, the center serves as a focal point and offers an additional accessible entry into the campus. The exterior design complements the nearby campus woods, featuring vertical wood slats and textures. A south-facing elevated concourse provides direct views of the forest, serving as a common area for students to connect and engage in independent study or watch sporting events.

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