Honor - SCUP Excellence in Architecture for Building Additions, Renovation or Adaptive Reuse

University of Oregon

University of Oregon Allan Price Science Commons & Research Library Remodel / Expansion
University of Oregon - University of Oregon Allan Price Science Commons & Research Library Remodel / Expansion
Jury Comments
“. . . bold thing done without a lot of money . . . creates variety in one building as opposed to a mix of buildings . . . ”


    • 24,940 sf (includes courtyard & plaza); Building – 40,895 gsf / 31,231 asf
    • Pursuing LEED CI Gold
    • The addition of trees and vegetation soften the plaza edge, creating a campus destination where a once sterile concrete expanse existed.
    • The addition of new, innovative spaces including a MakerSpace, a Visualization Laboratory, and several classrooms equipped for active teaching help bring the practice of science to life.
    • Glass walls throughout transmit daylight deep into the library and provide views out to the naturally-landscaped courtyard.
    • Moving around the courtyard, users can find quiet spaces to study away from the bustle of the Information Desk.
    • The social commons provides a flexible central space for gathering organized around a grand staircase.
    • The café functions like a coffee bar, a gathering place for students and staff and an anchor to bring people into the sciences.


This project involved a complete renovation of a subterranean library facility with the addition of 4,000 sq ft of new space at ground level. The decision to renovate and expand, instead of moving to a new location, maintains the close connection and excellent accessibility to the library that faculty and students had come to expect and to enjoy. This created a number of design and construction challenges due to the presence of the buildings that surround the plaza serving as the library roof. Additionally, antiquated infrastructure (two mechanical rooms and a leaky plaza) needed replacement. Challenges included an aging and leaky plaza ‘roof’, a constrained and difficult site wedged between adjacent buildings, and the complex interaction of nearby buildings that are interconnected at multiple levels.

The existing science library was housed completely underground in a basement. The only natural light provided was through a Brutalist courtyard with large overhangs that exacerbated the subterranean condition. Through the creation of an entry pavilion, portions of the courtyard were captured, expanded, and reconfigured to maximize the influx of natural light into the library’s depths. The wood and glass curtainwall grows organically out of the redesigned lushness of the courtyard.

By removing barriers and opening up the library; defining the plaza as a gathering place; providing better connections to the campus open space; and maximizing natural light, the existing library has been transformed into a vibrant 21st century facility—a window into the sciences.

Project Team

Opsis Architecture; also The Sextant Group, Inc.; Code Unlimited; BHEGroup; Systems West Engineers; Catena Consulting Engineers; Andersen Construction; Anderson Krygier, Inc.; Cameron McCarthy Landscape Architecture & Planning