Monograph: OSU Strand Agriculture Hall

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Strand Agriculture Hall Oregon State University




East elevation after rehabilitation

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STRAND AGRICULTURE HALL REHABILITATION For one hundred years, Strand Agriculture Hall has served Oregon State University as its home for the College of Agricultural Science and the study of horticulture, agronomy, and agriculture. After decades of infill projects and poorly conceived modifications, the historic classroom building had become unwelcoming, dark, and outdated, with little appeal and a total lack of critical social spaces for students, faculty, and staff. Through careful rehabilitation inside and out, the 116,000-square-foot building was transformed into a 21st Century learning and socially interactive environment, while also retaining the original character and integrity of the historic design. Upon its completion, Strand Ag Hall, with all of its modern day improvements, remains, in essence, Strand Ag Hall.

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PROJECT BACKGROUND Agriculture Hall, as it was originally named, was designed by architect John Bennes and constructed in three phases between 1909 and 1913. Extending between the East and West Quads, the building was the largest structure at Oregon Agricultural College when completed, and soon became the home for many important academic departments and laboratory spaces. The building’s three wings were identified as ‘Agronomy’ to the north, ‘Horticulture’ to the south, and ‘Agriculture’ at the center, which served as the central Administrative Building. In 1983 the building was renamed after August Strand, president of the university from 1942 to 1961.

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Phasing: South + Center + North

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East elevation, c.1915

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Aerial photo, c. 1930s

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CONTEXT Present day Strand Agriculture Hall is located within the University’s National Historic District, a designation shared by only a handful of campuses nationally and the only campus so represented in Oregon. At the heart of the campus, the building is sited between the two main quadrangles and is adjacent to Memorial Union and Valley Library.

OSU National Historic District

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Aerial photo of campus

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Before photo of east elevation

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PROJECT PRIORITIES The project priorities, defined by the University, included five key initiatives: 1

A new entrance on the west elevation providing a high-profile entrance and heightened identity fronting the Memorial Quad.

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ADA/Universal Accessibility at four existing entrances and throughout the building.

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A full seismic upgrade of the unreinforced masonry (URM) structure, along with all new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

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Establish a hierarchy of interior spaces.

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Active and passive energy conservation measures to greatly increase the building’s energy efficiency.

Diagram of shear walls

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EXTERIOR EXISTING CONDITIONS Prior to the rehabilitation, Strand’s exterior exhibited decades of wear, overgrowth, deferred maintenance, and incompatible additions. 1

Chalking, staining, and efflorescence of the brick facade

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Non-original fire escape at building link

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Accessory building addition at building link

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Spalling at brick surface throughout the facade

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Narrow ramp to side door at building’s only accessible entrance

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Non-ADA accessible entry at typical portico

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INTERIOR EXISTING CONDITIONS Strand had undergone a host of disjointed renovations, modifications, and retrofits over the years, which left the interior chopped up and disorganized.

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Non-historic door locations and details at typical hallway

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Non-essential separations at building links and stairs

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Utility panels and boxes in public spaces and hallways

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Differential settlement at 4th floor door

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Long runs of exposed piping and cable tray at typical hallway

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North Entry Approach with Stairs

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West Entry Portico with Widened Walk

East Entry with Sloped Plaza

Entry Porch w/ Ramp & Stairs

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South Entry Approach with Stairs

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ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCES Like many early 20th Century buildings, Strand Ag Hall made no provisions for the physically disabled. This was most evident at the six main entrances – none of which were accessible. As one of the primary goals for the project, OSU wanted to provide ADA/Universal Design entrances at the four cardinal points of the building. Integrating these with the historic architecture, and providing universal access in which the accessible route was also the most common path of travel, were central to the design.

Accessible entrances at the four cardinal points

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ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCES At Strand’s north and south entrances, gently sloped sidewalks, not ramps, were designed to lead to the raised historic porches and serve as the most common path of travel for all visitors to the building. At Strand’s west entrance, a more pronounced accessible route was incorporated, with a new portico giving stronger presence to the building’s west elevation facing Memorial Union. A series of low-sloped ramps, stairs, terrace seating, planting beds, and conjoining pathways were explored. The selected concept combined these elements with a simple layout that is compatible with the historic character of the building and grounds.

West entrance design study

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Sloped Sidewalks at North Entrance

Ramped Terrace at West Entrance

Sloped Sidewalks at South Entrance

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WEST PORTICO DESIGN The conceptual starting point for the new West Portico was contained in the 1909 Olmsted Campus Plan Report to President Kerr, which outlined the intended evolution of the west side of Strand Agriculture Hall: “…Instead there should be a central door and an imposing porch on the west side of the middle mass of the new Agriculture Hall, so it would be a double fronted building, as its relation to the two quadrangles would demand.”

The goal for the West Portico design was to complete Olmsted’s intent for the west elevation to formally address the Memorial Union quadrangle with an entrance of appropriate scale and detailing, and to extend in a complementary fashion the building’s character and design features. Scale, proportion, location, and detailing of the existing porticos and entrance tower were studied to inform the new design.

Existing west entrance

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Concept rendering of west portico

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SCALE & PROPORTION The Golden Section, a mathematical theory developed by the Greeks, was used to establish the scale and proportions of the new portico. Considered the middle between two extremes, the Golden Section is a formula that, when applied to architectural design, results in a structure thought to contain inherent beauty, balance, and harmony.

Golden Section overlay in plan and elevation

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DETAILS The portico’s detailing was derived from the materials and patterns surrounding the building’s original entrances. Simplified design details create a complementary interpretation of the building’s classical Doric Order, compatible with the context of the University’s Historic District and with the original design of Strand.

Original elevation, c. 1909

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Concept rendering of west terrace and portico

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Concept rendering of center wing entry and hearth

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HEARTH: ACCESSIBILITY, ART & SOCIAL SPACE Accessibility challenges were also present inside the building, with additional steps at the north, east, and south entrances. To address these issues, ADA-accessible ramps were combined with art gallery and social spaces to provide passage, interest, and the opportunity for social interaction for all building users.

Concept rendering of center wing hearth

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HEARTH: ART GALLERY

South hearth

The gallery aspect of each entry lounge was developed in close collaboration with the College of Agricultural Sciences’ “Art About Agriculture” program. The program, which encourages artists to investigate themes of agriculture and natural resources through their works of art, has a collection of more than 200 original pieces. The final design incorporated high quality reproductions – some enlarged as much as 12 times their original size – of several pieces from the collection. Each work of art was selected to illustrate the subject matter associated with each building wing. 1

Rendering of south hearth with art reproductions: Left: Tallmadge Doyle, ‘Seed Pod II’ Right: Tallmadge Doyle, ‘Assorted Buds’

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Rendering of center hearth with art reproductions: Left: Paul Gentry, ‘Watering Place’ Right: Paul Gentry, ‘Willamette Country’

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Rendering of north hearth with art reproductions: Left: Donna Trent, ‘Ebey’s Prairie Farm, Whidbey Island’ Right: Robert Schlegel, ‘Grain Elevator’

Center hearth

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Inspirational images for interior color concepts

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IDENTITY & INSPIRATION As an approach to wayfinding, each building wing was assigned a color palette inspired byits original title – Agronomy (blue), Agriculture (green), and Horticulture (orange). Art, color, textures, and specific themes were explored for each of these subjects. Three distinct color schemes were derived from these studies and incorporated into the furniture and finishes at entrances, stairwells, and landings.

Color identity and wayfinding

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FLOOR PLANS The reorganization of the building’s floor plates was central to the rehabilitation, re-establishing the wide central hallways, large spaces, and consistently located door openings of the original design. The introduction of new spaces, services, structure, and systems was done with great care and respect for the building’s historic character. LEGEND 1

Classroom

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Office

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Entry Lounge

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Meeting Room

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Service

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Fourth Floor

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Watercolor rendering of west elevation

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1 North hearth construction sequence (1-4)

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CONSTRUCTION

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Construction was initially split into two phases, with Phase I including work in the basement and north wing while the rest of the building remained occupied. When surge space became available earlier than anticipated, occupants moved out and Phase II merged with Phase I. This resulted in greater efficiency of time and resources. Interior and exterior work was done simultaneously, with major efforts including a sub-grade electrical room, interior shotcrete installations, removal of the central brick vault, and the re-leveling of entire floors of the building.

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WEST TERRACE & PORTICO The rehabilitation of Strand Agriculture Hall – in particular, the complementary design of the west terrace and portico – has heightened its presence on campus and enhanced the OSU Historic District’s integrity.

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West elevation with new entry terrace and portico

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NORTH & SOUTH ACCESSIBLE ENTRANCES The resultant design solutions deftly balance historic preservation concerns with very specific accessibility requirements. Low-sloped sidewalks, not ramps, curve subtly through the landscape and onto extended porches, replacing the inaccessible entry routes of the existing building and creating common paths of travel for all visitors.

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West terrace and portico looking south

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WEST TERRACE & PORTICO The new west terrace and portico replace the small, tacked-on entry porch and over-grown landscape, providing a strong visual and physical connection to the Memorial Quad. A combination of landscaping, benches, seat walls, integrated power, and ample space extend the useful area of the building to the exterior and provide comfortable opportunities for studying, gathering, and celebrating.

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MATERIAL REUSE Old-growth Douglas fir joists were reclaimed from throughout the building where floors were removed as part of the renovation and redesign. The joists were salvaged, planed, and re-purposed as custom benches and tables for the building’s hallways and entry lounges. 1

Identify

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Salvage

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Fabricate

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Re-purpose

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MATERIALS & FINISHES The materials and finishes selected for Strand were inspired by the original materials present in the building and its reputation as a simple, understated “work-horse� type building, void of elaborate finishes and ornament. Careful consideration was taken to ensure compatibility between old and new. 1

Cast stone of existing portico

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Horticulture-inspired accent colors

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Douglas fir from reclaimed joists

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Neutral tones on painted millwork

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Agriculture-inspired accent colors

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Agronomy-inspired accent colors

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Translucent glass

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Natural wood finishes

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Slat-wood ceilings in natural finish

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10 Exposed cast and precast concrete 11 Neutral tones on walls and floors

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Palette of historically compatible materials

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Center hearth looking south

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South hearth looking west

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North hearth looking west

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North hearth looking west

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Center hearth looking southeast

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Typical classroom

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CLASSROOMS Strand Ag Hall has always been a classroom building and now provides 17% of the general classrooms on campus. As part of the rehabilitation, all of the classrooms were placed in the “bookends� of the building on each floor, giving clarity to the building layout and making them easy to find.

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INTERIOR DETAILS The historic character and wood trim details of the original interior spaces informed a new contemporary language for the interior building details. This contemporary set of details is employed at all new doors, windows, and hearth spaces. This design approach helps to differentiate new construction from the original building details, which follows the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Existing and new wood trim details

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Classroom doors and hearth wood trim details

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OWNER Project Manager: Jon Gremmels Project Manager: David Amundson Construction Manager: David Raleigh Owner’s Rep: Elizabeth C. Webb Art About Ag Curator: Shelley Curtis HENNEBERY EDDY ARCHITECTS Principal/Historic Architect: David Wark, AIA Principal-in-Charge: Alan Osborne, AIA Project Manager: Doug Reimer, AIA Project Architect: Sean Barnett, AIA Project Architect: Dawn Carlton, AIA Historic Architect: Carin Carlson, AIA Project Team: Alexander Lungerhausen, AIA Interior Designer: Elyse Iverson, NCIDQ Interior Designer: Diana Bustardo CONSULTANTS Civil: KPFF Consulting Engineers Landscape: Walker Macy Structural: KPFF Consulting Engineers Mechanical: Interface Engineering Electrical: Interface Engineering Telecom: Interface Engineering Plumbing: Interface Engineering Fire Protection: Interface Engineering Lighting: Interface Engineering Envelope: The Facade Group Graphic Design: Mayer Reed Art Reproduction: Studio Art Direct Estimating: Architectural Cost Consultants

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CONTRACTOR General: Hoffman Construction Co. (CMGC) Photography: Josh Partee Photography Photography: Andrew Pogue Photography




PROJECT INFORMATION Client: Oregon State University Location: Corvallis, Oregon Building Use: Higher Education Site Area: 88,000 sf Building Area: 116,000 sf Construction Type: III-B (OSSC 2010) Occupancy Type: B Construction Cost: $24 M Cost/sf: $210 Completion Date: September 2015 HEA Project Number: 11035 AWARDS Historic Preservation Award, City of Corvallis Historic Resources Commission, 2016 Outstanding Project of the Year, Interior Restoration Oregon, Northwest Wall and Ceiling Bureau, 2016 DeMuro Award, Restore Oregon, 2016

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