University of Oregon’s new Jaqua Center celebrates the student athlete
The University of Oregon’s new 40,000 sq ft John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes is a state-of-the-art facility that contributes the recruitment, retention and success of Oregon’s 520 student athletes while exploring the limits of transparency and connectivity to provide a place to gather as a community focused on study and learning. The design concept was based on the notion of a fertile, natural environment to invigorate and inspire learning. The building’s glass structure rests on a 'table of water' and a birch forest honours the region’s natural environment.
The first floor of the building is open to the public with a café, auditorium, atrium for public events, staff offices, tutor areas and heritage space that recognises past, present, and future student athletes. The two floors above are for the exclusive use of student-athletes and staff and require secure access. An atrium forms the 'heart' of the building. An innovative 'double wall' facade addresses acoustic isolation, thermal insulation, and control of available daylight within the building. Authenticity to the Oregon student athlete experience was a key design driver, as was the celebration of the success of student-athletes in the pursuit of knowledge and athletic achievement.
The atrium walls are infused with graphic displays that relay the heritage of athletics at the University as well as 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. 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.