Jaqua Academic Center
Authenticity to the University of Oregon student experience was a key design driver. As is the celebration of the success of student-athletes in the pursuit of knowledge and athletic achievement, an atrium forms the “heart” of the building. The atrium walls are infused with graphic displays that relay the heritage of athletics at the University. It also includes a scoreboard-inspired wall listing upcoming tutorial appointments for student-athletes.
Through the seamless integration of art, environmental graphics and architecture, the facility serves as a pantheon of student athletic achievements. For example, the “A Few Who Just Did It” wall celebrates the post-graduate academic achievements of notable former student-athletes, including the faces of author Ken Kesey, Nike co-founder Phil Knight and Ann Bancroft (the first woman to cross both the North and South Poles), engraved in 8x8 square oak blocks. On another atrium wall, a three-story mural is constructed of 10,000 small 3x3 photos of student-athletes acid-etched onto stainless steel and assembled in a large-scale pixilated pattern such that Albert Einstein’s face emerges when viewed from a distance. This mural depicts the life of student athletes at the University, dating the building as circa 2009 when the photos were captured. Other elements include floor engravings of Academic All-American honorees, a color and sandblasted glass wall celebrating PAC-10 All Academic recipients and stair well that contains the names of more than 4,000 lettermen that graduated from the University between 1945 and 2009
Directly off the entrance to the atrium is the café, which features a four-sided gas fireplace, surrounded by a leather lounge seat suggesting the shape of the University’s signature “O.” The café welcomes the public seven days a week and serves coffee, sodas, pastries, pizzas and sandwiches (with many named in honor of former University athletes). On the far side of the atrium is the auditorium/lecture hall which contains 114 leather chairs, in Oregon’s signature yellow, each individually wired for power and Internet capabilities.
A student lounge area on the second floor is set on axis with the katsura maple tree in the garden below. This axial move was carefully planned in order to provide a sense of being at the tree top while in the space. Several ‘beanbag-like’ sofas are arranged throughout the room offering student respite. A custom rug covers the floor with a large supergraphic of a traditional University slogan used as part of its rivalry with the Oregon State Beavers, “When ducks fly beavers….” The image across the rug depicts several ducks flying through the air as a beaver scurries away on the ground. Walls are covered in white oak and a TV is placed within a band of black glass that makes a graphic ‘stripe’ along one edge of the room.