Willamette University's newest academic building, Ford Hall, was built to blend in with the rest of the historic brick campus but was also designed to be state of the art and environmentally sustainable. Willamette University hired Portland-based Hennebery Eddy Architects to design the new cross-disciplinary building, which has achieved a LEED Gold certification and received a 2030 Challenge Design Award.
Completed in 2009, the LEED Gold Ford Hall is now home to an unusual mix of departments including mathematics, rhetoric and media studies, computer science, film studies, Russian, digital arts and music. The three-story building was designed to match the surrounding campus and makes use of brick, limestone, and copper. Passive solar design strategies were employed to minimize energy use and take advantage of the sun. Oriented along an east-west axis, the building takes in natural daylighting on the south and north and minimizes solar heat gain on the east and west. Shade devices and fritted glass on the sun-facing facades minimize direct sunlight and heat gain as well. Meanwhile a 40-foot-long clerestory window on the roof fills the central atrium with light.
Natural daylighting is combined with a high performance envelope, automatic lighting controls, occupancy sensors, operable windows, and an energy efficient displacement ventilation HVAC system to reduce energy use. A 26.8-kilowatt thin film photovoltaic system installed on the roof generates 3.5% of the building’s needs and is helping the university achieving its goal of powering the campus with 15% from renewable sources. Around the building, new native and drought-tolerant landscaping reduces irrigation needs by 50% and low flow fixtures reduce water usage indoors. In addition to the use of low- or no-VOC materials inside, the building also features custom furniture made from trees that were removed during construction.
Images ©Michael Mathers