Oregon Forest Science Complex

MGA | Michael Green Architecture
9. March 2021
Photo: Josh Partee (All images courtesy of v2com)

In 2020, Michael Green Architecture completed two new mass timber buildings for the internationally recognized College of Forestry at Oregon State University: the George W. Peavy Forest Science Center and the A.A. "Red" Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory.

Located on campus within the Oregon Forest Science Complex (OFSC), the new George W. Peavy Forest Science Center and the A.A. "Red" Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory (AWP) uphold the college’s vision to create a dynamic learning, collaboration, and research environment for managing and sustaining working forest ecosystems in the 21st century.

The project design approach was created in collaboration with multiple college departments and user groups across various functions, including resource management, ecosystems and society, and science and engineering. Engagement with these unique and diverse groups meant that the buildings themselves were designed to be teachers and a living laboratory – something to interact with and to learn from.

Project: Oregon Forest Science Complex, 2020
Location: Corvallis, Oregon, USA
Client: Oregon State University
Architect: MGA | Michael Green Architecture
  • Principal in Charge: Michael Green
  • Project Manager + Design Lead: Natalie Telewiak
  • Project Architect (Peavy): Amanda Reed
  • Project Architect (PWP): Candice Nichol
  • Project Team: Mingyuk Chen, Maria Mora, Kyle Elderhorst, Aleksandra Adamczewska, Anne Sewell, Asher DeGroot, Shea Treacy, Kelsey Reddekopp, Whitney Robinson, Sindhu Mahadevan, Jacqueline Green
Structural: Equilibrium Consulting Inc.
Mechanical: PAE Consulting Engineers
Electrical: AEI Affiliated Engineers
Civil Engineer: KPFF Consulting Engineers
Contractor: Andersen Construction
Laboratory Consultant: The Estimé Group
Building Envelope: RDH Building Science Inc. 
Elevator: Lerch Bates
Geotechnical: Foundation Engineering
Specifications: m.thrailkill.architect.llc
Costing: JMB Consulting Group 
Timber Installer: StructureCraft
Acoustic Consultant: BRC Acoustics
Code: Code Unlimited
Building Area: 101,000 sf (Peavy: 83,000 sf; AWP: 18,000 sf)
Peavy Forest Science Center (Photo: Josh Partee)
George W. Peavy Forest Science Center

The new George W. Peavy Forest Science Center is connected to the complex natural layers, systems, and networks of a forest, from soil to sky. The building is designed as two intersecting bars, connected to the existing Richardson Hall. A simple academic bar features 20 classrooms, computer rooms, and laboratories. Classroom and lab spaces range from small to large and interior to exterior, facilitating a range of teaching styles in an inspiring environment for students to study all aspects of the forest landscape. Timber stairwells filled with natural light flank both ends of the academic corridor to connect the landscape and enhance intuitive wayfinding.

Peavy Forest Science Center (Photo: Josh Partee)

At the heart of Peavy is the Roseburg Forest Products Atrium. Shaped by towering two-story Douglas fir columns, this expansive space captures the feeling of being in the forest. The atrium is directly connected to the Peavy Arboretum, a curated collection of local plant species that acts as a living classroom for forestry students, community, and industry. The edge between the building and the adjacent arboretum is blurred to remind students and faculty of their unique and critical role as environmental stewards.

Peavy Forest Science Center (Photo: Josh Partee)

Peavy includes several informal learning spaces, including the third-floor area located outside of The Wollenberg Foundation Dean’s Suite. This space provides opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to collaborate, study, and teach in a relaxed setting among the treetops.

Peavy Forest Science Center (Photo: Josh Partee)

The wood structure design is innovative in its response to the high seismic requirements of the site. A CLT rocking wall system, the first of its kind in North America, was developed with shear walls composed of separate sections connected vertically by a post-tension system. This allows the walls to move and self-center during an event, and for components to be selectively replaced on an as-needed basis after the event occurs. As part of the building as a teacher concept, the wood structure is monitored by over 200 sensors that have been installed throughout the structure to gather data on vertical and horizontal structural movement as well as moisture. This data will be used for research into the performance of mass timber structures for the life of the building and will inform the future of good practice in building with mass timber.

Peavy Forest Science Center (Photo: Josh Partee)
Advanced Wood Products Laboratory (AWP)

The A.A. "Red" Emmerson Advanced Wood Products Laboratory is home to the TallWood Design Institute, which brings together industry and academia to advance knowledge about the use of wood products in buildings through applied research, product development, testing, and professional education. The building provides dedicated research spaces for developing and testing innovative wood products and technologies while producing data that can be applied in research and industry.

AWP (Photo: Ema Peter)

The AWP program required an expansive space to allow for the flexibility to test and adapt to technologies as they emerged. The building structure is a simple and elegant glulam and MPP system that works together to achieve the long span required. The lab space is broken into two bays:

  • the structural testing bay includes a reaction wall and strong floor to support the heavy structural work and testing of structures up to three-stories high;
  • the manufacturing bay is equipped with advanced robotics and fabrication equipment.
AWP (Photo: Ema Peter)

These new buildings extend beyond forestry to include the entire ecosystem, the industries that engage it, and more importantly, the wide variety of people who will be environmental stewards of our future: the students.

AWP (Photo: Ema Peter)
AWP (Photo: Ema Peter)
AWP (Photo: Ema Peter)
AWP (Photo: Ema Peter)

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