Campus 9th Avenue, the new proposal for a central hub in the Ford District of Portland, Oregon, intends to manifest the character and culture of both the historical and rapidly evolving theme of the city. Similarly, the campus network aspires to be an advanced and innovative solution in response to the program of developing a modern tech center focused around creative offices spaces and “hyper-dense” program integration.
Based on the formal and organizational construct of site subdivisions through pressure lines or lineaments, the design of Campus 9th Avenue offers an alternative to a single site mass, favoring the complex pedestrian circulation of walking and cycling that creates the energy of the ground plane. The additional flex of the architectural form that occurs at the intersection of these lineaments, adds support to the theme by creating intrigue and flow between edifices, devoid of corners or abrupt transitions. Extruded vertically, the curvature of the ground plane generates form that enhances the language of the organizational system embedded on the site. The five volumes that comprise the campus are never completely resolved back to a whole, but rather engage with one another through physical connections of sky bridges, their cascading eurhythmy, and the blending of silhouettes.
Further reinforcement of the strategy to create intellectual and innovative space is provided by a secondary formal maneuver imposed onto the masses through the implementation of solar sculpting; a method of carving architectural form with computational sun path tracing in order to increase natural daylighting. The solution not only is successful in its primary function of generating more natural light but also reinvents the idea of the courtyard and balcony by blurring the line between indoor and outdoor spaces. These transitional spaces which occur on a multitude of scales, develop a sense of immersion and envelopment, allowing its inhabitants to discover intimate spaces sheltered from the weather.
The campus reemphasizes light, shadow, and transparency via a high performance double skin façade that wraps the majority of the buildings significantly glazed envelope. The façade, made up of glass panels with a variation of fritted patterns, allows for increased environmental and privacy control through a gradation of calculated placement of the panels. The sculpted façade superimposes a final layer of resolution onto the architecture, echoing the theme of an advanced and innovated identity.
Internally, the hyper-density of program is subdivided by the initial moves that generated the five volumes; breaking up the program into creative office, office 2, commercial and retail, flexible residential, and cultural. Among these primary divisions of program, variation was purposefully imposed into individual buildings to create further connection and interaction between users. The use of open plans was emphasized to increase space planning and creativity while focusing the user outward, creating a panoramic architecture reinforced by the curvature of its form.