Merit - Excellence in Landscape Architecture for Open Space Planning

University of Oregon

Thirteenth Avenue Conceptual Design
University of Oregon - Thirteenth Avenue Conceptual Design
Jury Comments
“. . . major improvement for this campus and long overdue . . . great analysis . . . smart using extensions of plazas to define the spaces along the street . . . good to see the pedestrian and alternate means of transportation taking priority . . .”


    • Site – .62 miles
    • Thirteenth Avenue bisects the UO campus on an east-west axis.
    • Places for people, multi-modal clarity, sustainability, and flexibility are priorities in the concept.
    • Thirteenth Avenue must function well to support new campus development.
    • The proposed circulation clarifies dedicated pedestrian and “wheels” routes.
    • Space reallocation eliminates vehicle-priority areas from Thirteenth Avenue.
    • The street becomes a plaza at campus open spaces and gateways.
    • Plazas act as transition zones between construction phases.
    • Outdoor room concepts focused on social “porches” and pedestrian “eddies.”


Thirteenth Avenue is a half-mile street on the University of Oregon campus and its primary east-west connector. For 100 years, its function transformed from a city boulevard for cars to a pedestrian thoroughfare for students. Today it is a disorganized campus corridor whose form no longer supports its use. Based on an analysis of campus transportation and circulation, student life, and landscape features, the design concept presents a new vision for Thirteenth Avenue: a cohesive campus open space that offers an exceptional walking, bicycling, and community experience, linking iconic campus open spaces, historic buildings, and infill academic development.

The project builds on the University of Oregon’s adopted campus plan, which provides a framework for campus open spaces and has guided campus development for many decades. Thirteenth is a designated “axis” whose official function is to connect campus open spaces and buildings. The campus plan also sets priorities for circulation, putting emergency vehicles, pedestrians, and people with disabilities at the top. To evaluate the use and potential of Thirteenth Avenue today, this project integrated analysis of open spaces and campus character, multi-modal mobility, and the “Public Space-Public Life” relationship.

The Public Space-Public Life Analysis observed several key aspects of the existing condition, including (1) use of the street is characterized by long periods of low volumes of pedestrians and “wheels”—bikes, scooters, and skateboards—punctuated by intense surges of activity between classes; (2) the existing, vehicle-oriented design does not match its pedestrian and bike use; and (3) there is a mismatch between comfortable microclimates and the location of spaces for social life.

The Thirteenth Avenue Conceptual Design provides a holistic vision that aligns multi-modal circulation with enhancements that support campus identity and social life. The design proposes a consistent street section and palette of materials and planting for the entire corridor so that people identify Thirteenth Avenue as a singular open space with its own sense of place and purpose. A Thirteenth Avenue redesigned for people will advance the university’s mission and foster the growth of the campus over time.

Project Team

Walker Macy, Lead Consultant, Landscape Architecture and Planning; Gehl Studio, Public Life Analysis and Design; Toole Design, Transportation Planning; KPFF, Civil Engineering; Capital Project Group, Cost Consulting