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CLT cross laminated timber extension connects staff and visitors to nature

Corten steel and timber facade
Woman walking past trees and timber wall panelling
Timber clad entry of Oregon Conservation Centre

The new CLT cross laminated timber extension to The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon headquarters was designed to visually express the TNC’s work and to connect staff and visitors to nature.

Designed by Lever Architecture, the renovation and expansion project integrates materials and plantings which highlight their priority projects from around the state. The cross laminated timber (CLT) is made from Douglas Fir sourced in the Oregon region. Juniper cladding used on the building’s ground floor facade is from Juniper Hills Preserve in Eastern Oregon. The decking on the rooftop garden is cedar from the Willapa Bay Preserve in Southwest Washington and the planting evokes the landscape of the Rowena Plateau. Wrapping around the perimeter of the site are gardens showcasing plants from Cascade-Siskiyou and Western Hemlock and Cedar Forest landscapes.

Rooftop garden next to weathering steel facade
Timber lined ceiling in community room

Built in the 1970s, the original building was internally dark and didn’t allow for collaboration or large-scale meetings or events. Rather than demolish the building and start afresh, the existing building was retained and the interior was transformed into an open plan collaborative workplace with a large new community room and rooftop garden terrace.

Rooftop photovoltaic solar panels provide 25% of the building’s power requirements and efficient building systems and electrical fixtures help to reduce the electrical consumption by 54%. Water consumption is said to be 44% lower than that of a typical building with the use of water efficient fixtures. Operable windows can be used to provide fresh air instead of mechanical ventilation and they are kept unobstructed from built form so the interiors are light-filled with expansive views of the tree canopies and the local neighbourhood.

Weathering steel, or Corten steel, has been used to wrap the existing building and it was beautifully and intricately laser cut then folded to form the fascia for the new single story extension. This oversized fascia drapes down to provide sun screening and dappled light to the community room, with the same quality of light filtered through a canopy of trees. Much like the timber cladding, this steel cladding will also weather over time.

Related project: If you like CLT buildings check out the Santo CLT office by Junichi Kato & Associated

Large timber meeting table with timber ceiling
Timber batten ceiling
Open plan work area with exposed timber beams

Sustainability specs:
– LEED Gold certified – v4 BD+C New Construction
– Cross laminated timber (CLT) panels made from certified FSC timber (Forest Stewardship Council)
– All timber used is FSC certified
– Juniper cladding on external walls
– Cedar decking
– Original three story building was retained and sustainably renovated
– Rooftop photovoltaic solar panels provide 25% of the building’s power requirements
– Efficient building systems and electrical fixtures help to reduce the electrical consumption by 54%
– Water efficient fixtures reduce consumption by 44%
– Operable windows provide natural ventilation when possible
– Stormwater is managed on site
– Abundant natural light
– Existing timber ceilings were retained and refinished in the existing building
– Locally sourced materials
– Rooftop garden
– CLT Cross laminated timber extension

Detailed view of folded corten steel
Side facade of Oregon Conservation Centre
Angled exterior view of Oregon Conservation Centre at dusk
From the architect:

This renovation and expansion of The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon headquarters transforms a dated office building into a collaborative hub that reflects the mission of this environmental nonprofit. Built in the 1970s, the original building’s prosaic exterior and landscaping did little to promote the visibility and identity of this global nonprofit. Inside, the dark, siloed office layouts and lack of sizable meeting or event space posed challenges for this collaborative organization.

To create an outward expression of The Nature Conservancy’s work in Oregon and to connect staff and visitors to nature, the design integrates materials and plantings specific to their priority projects around the state. New landscaping evokes three of the organization’s protected habitats: the Rowena Plateau, the Cascade-Siskiyou region, and western hemlock and cedar forests.

Images courtesy of Lever Architecture. Photography by Jeremy Bittermann and Lara Swimmer
Via www.leverarchitecture.com

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