Portland-based LEVER Architecture has breathed new life into The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon headquarters with a LEED Gold-targeted renovation. Completed in 2019, the refreshed headquarters has received a much-needed facelift constructed from sustainably harvested materials as well as a new addition topped with a roof garden. Beautiful and sustainable, the addition is also one of the first buildings in the nation to be built of domestically fabricated cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

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two timber buildings with several windows

Built in the 1970s, The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon headquarters was formerly defined by dark and introverted offices as well as a lack of sizable meeting and event space. To better meet the needs of the highly collaborative organization, LEVER Architecture expanded the building footprint to 15,000 square feet and introduced new open-plan layouts, meeting rooms of varying sizes and a staff cafe and lounge. The Nature Conservancy’s mission of environmental stewardship has also been proudly showcased through updates to the exterior facade and landscaping.

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person walking through a landscaped walkway
people walking into timber and weathered steel building

The new landscaping that surrounds the building on all sides evokes three types of habitats across Oregon: the Rowena Plateau, Cascade-Siskiyou and forests of western hemlock and cedar. The connection to nature is strengthened by the use of juniper and cedar siding, materials that were sustainably harvested from The Nature Conservancy’s conservation sites. The weathering steel that wraps around the upper portions of the new addition and main building will develop a handsome patina over time to further blend the building into its surroundings.

sliding glass door leading to large meeting room with long wood table and several windows
large desks in an open layout

In addition to a sustainable renovation and expansion, the architects have introduced new energy-saving and -generating systems. New rooftop solar panels on the main building produce 25% of the headquarters’ energy needs, while efficient fixtures and building systems reduce electric consumption by 54% and water consumption by 44%. All stormwater is captured and managed on-site. Low-tech passive strategies, such as daylighting and operable windows for natural ventilation, also help cut down the building’s energy demands.

+ LEVER Architecture

Photos by Jeremy Bittermann and Lara Swimmer via LEVER Architecture