Portland State University, Fariborz Maseeh College of Engineering
and Computer Sciences: Sustainability in New Campus Construction
John Thompson, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca
Robert D. Dryden, Portland State University
Portland State University's new engineering facility is a key
element in the University's goal to increase its emphasis on engineering,
science, and technology. Over the next five years, PSU seeks to
double the number of engineering graduates, from 250 per year to
500. The new 130,000 square foot, $33 million facility will provide
state of the art research and teaching facilities for Civil and
Mechanical Engineering Departments and Systems Engineering Programs.
The building houses 47 labs, a 120 seat lecture auditorium, student
services, and offices on the five above-grade stories. Three below-grade
stories contain a 364 space parking garage and additional offices.
In addition to providing the school with a home on campus that it
has never had, the building will also create a regional center to
house the growing number of collaborative programs with Oregon Health
& Science University, the Oregon Graduate Institute of Technology,
and other institutions. The project also involves the renovation
of 125,000 square feet in an adjacent property into labs and classroom
space; this phase was completed in 2001.
Portland State University was interested in pursuing sustainability
in new campus construction. Thus, for the new Engineering and Computer
Science building, ZGF began the design process with an EcoCharrette
to set environmental performance goals, and to find opportunities
for optimizing the design. The building is LEED™ registered
with a goal to attain Silver certification. The building has benefited
greatly from participation in Better Bricks advisor program and
through extensive daylighting analysis at the Portland Lighting
As part of a targeted LEED™ Silver certification, the building
is designed to distribute abundant natural light, primarily through
the glass entry lobby which spans the entire northwest corner. Glass-festooned
stairwells on the south and north sides add to the daylighting,
as will light shelves on the west side.
Another innovative sustainable feature is the geothermal heating
and cooling system, which utilizes water deep underground that is
thus not subject to temperature fluctuations. In the summer, the
water will cool air that is circulated through the building. In
the winter, that same water will be warmer than surface-level air,
and thus can heat the air when needed.
In order to facilitate this underground heat-exchange system, however,
the building team drilled 750 feet underground&mdashthe equivalent
of 60 stories. This approach is rare in high-density urban areas
because of extensive utilities and building support systems located
on the perimeter of the new building, which made locating the exact
well positions a challenge.
In combination with the heat-exchange system, the glass entry lobby
and stairwells will be naturally ventilated using a series of mechanical
louvers and fans (which double as mandated fire-protection technology)
to open windows. In addition, the structure incorporates and uses
recycled and local materials wherever possible.
John H. Thompson, AIA, has more than 20 years
of experience in architecture, planning, and urban design. As a
ZGF Design Principal, he has lead large teams on many of the firm's
most technically complex projects. His background includes a diverse
mix of research and laboratory buildings, offices, and educational
facilities. Prior to joining Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership in
1985, John spent five years working in the design studios of Skidmore
Owings and Merrill.
Robert D. Dryden, University
Professor and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, joined the Portland
State University (PSU) faculty as Dean of Engineering and Applied
Science in 1995. In February 1997, he was also appointed interim
Vice Chancellor of the Oregon Center for Advanced Technology Education
(OCATE), and the Joint Graduate Schools of Engineering (OJGSE).
In addition, his duties involve service as the Oregon State System
of Higher Education's (OSSHE) liaison with the Capital Center in
the Portland Metropolitan Area. In 1997, he was appointed Vice Chancellor
of the Oregon College of Engineering and Computer Science of the
Oregon University System and also remained Dean of Engineering and
Applied Science at PSU. He received his BS (1967) and his MS (1968)
in Industrial Engineering and Management from Oklahoma State University.
His Ph.D. was received from Texas Tech University in 1973. Dr. Dryden
has experience both in industry and in academia. After working for
Conoco Pipe Line Company, he joined the faculty at the University
of Texas at Arlington (1968), and also served as associate director
of the Construction Research Center. In 1977, he assumed the chairmanship
of the Industrial Engineering Department at Wichita State University
where he also directed the Rehabilitation Engineering Center. In
1979, he accepted the position as Department Head of the Industrial
Engineering and Operations Research Department at Virginia Tech
where he remained until joining PSU. He is a professional engineer
and has consulted and conducted research in the areas of construction
productivity, safety, human factors engineering, rehabilitation
engineering, and economic evaluation.
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