Page N2.1 . 17 November 2010                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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Portland AIA Awards

by Brian Libby

When the University of Oregon made plans with longtime athletics benefactor Phil Knight, chairman of Nike, to build a new study center for student athletes on the Eugene campus, the stated goal was to create a building of striking beauty that celebrates the landscape. The resulting John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes is a gleaming glass cuboid set against a reflecting pool, impressing passersby with its pristine presence while providing abundant outdoor views to the select athletes within.

Designed by Portland-based ZGF Architects, the Jaqua Center received the top honor from the Portland chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in its annual design awards. The awards jury also recognized 12 other projects, including corporate offices, private homes, and a planned memorial, as exemplars of innovative, efficient, and attractive design.

Glass Box in Eugene

Situated along busy Franklin Boulevard, at the entrance to the University of Oregon's main campus, the Jaqua Center contains study spaces and public gathering areas centered around a three-story atrium. The 40,000-square-foot (3,700-square-meter) building incorporates a range of learning environments, from small spaces for one-on-one tutoring to a 114-seat auditorium. From the first-floor cafe to classrooms to lounges with overstuffed sofas, the yellow and green school colors figure prominently, along with glass and wood.

"It creates a center for the student athletes so they can find commonality," explains Gene Sandoval, a partner at ZGF Architects. "When you go there during the week, you see them seeing each other. Football players are meeting track athletes. Basketball players are meeting baseball players. It's a hearth for them. And it's taking this vision and this brand of the athletic culture of Oregon and making it into a building."   >>>

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Designed by ZGF and located in Eugene, Oregon, the Jaqua Center is clad in a double-wall glass facade, and is surrounded on three sides by a wide reflecting pool.
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The interior of the Jaqua Center is organized around a central three-story atrium.
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