The Design Commission has approved a major renovation of Portland State University’s Neuberger Hall. The project is being designed by Hacker architects, with landscape design by Mayer Reed. The renovation will include a complete interior renovation designed to address significant deferred maintenance. Significant alterations will also be made to the exterior envelope of the building, much of which is currently failing.
Neuberger Hall is located at the heart of the PSU campus, on the block bound by SW Broadway, Hall, Park and Harrison. The building was built in two phases: the first phase on the western half of the block was completed in 1961; the second phase on the eastern half of the block was completed in 1969.
The western half of the building will be re-clad. Brick will be used at the existing shear walls, with a dark lime wash coating added. New fiberglass windows and metallic silver composite metal panels will be added where the existing glass curtainwall is currently located. Dark grey composite metal panel and aluminum glazing will be used at the ground level.
At the west side of the building, where it faces the South Park Blocks, a new seating area named the “social jetty” will be built. Over its length the social jetty will have a variety of configurations, allowing it to variously be used as low plinth style seating, a bench with higher adjacent counter, or a standing counter.
A sculpture by artist Tom Hardy, Oregon Country, is currently located on the west facade of Neuberger Hall. The sculpture will be relocated to another location on the PSU campus.
Exterior work on the eastern half of the building, facing SW Broadway, will include the replacement of the existing glazing and the introduction of a new entrance from the street. Existing precast concrete panels will be removed and replaced with glazing, providing views into a new gallery / museum space proposed at the ground level.
The circulation through the building will be rearranged, with new entries added facing the SW Broadway and the Park Blocks. At the interior of the building a new full height lightwell will be created. Public facing functions, including student services, the museum / gallery, and conference rooms will be placed at the ground floor. The upper floors will be used for classrooms and offices.
The renovation of Neuberger Hall was approved on August 4th, following one prior Design Advice hearing in April. Changes made since since the first hearing include eliminating wood at the ground level, the change in tone at the brick on the west building, and the introduction of the social jetty feature. In the Final Findings and Decision by the Design Commission the project was found to improve the connectivity between SW Broadway and the Park Blocks:
The default design of the Brutalist building, being two connected half block buildings, has created a structure that has been difficult to navigate at best and imposing at worst. While being located between the South Park Blocks to the west and SW Broadway and the greater urban environment to the east, the building has historically responded to neither. In short, the building has been more of an obstacle between the urban areas and Park blocks than a gateway. The proposed alterations improve both the east and west frontages with the significant addition of glazing providing clear visibility into and through the building, as well as with improved entry and access points on the two primary facades. Collectively, the proposed alterations take advantage of the established university building and its pivotal location to enhance and provide a sense of transition both from the east and the west.
Building permits will need to be obtained before construction can begin. The project is expected to be completed in 2019.