The Oregon State Treasury Department building in Salem, designed by GBD Architects, represents an architectural harmony of innovation, sustainability, and functionality. GBD Architects, founded in 1969 and headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is long recognized for its commitment to excellence and a strong emphasis on sustainable design. This project in the public interest absolutely showcases the firm’s dedication to environmental responsibility and disaster resilience, that is cloaked in an identifiably institutional, but almost kinetic aesthetic. It is solidly grounded yet seems to reflect its hidden ‘superpower’ to deflect some of the most severe catastrophes imaginable.
Innovative and Sustainable Design:
GBD Architects’ practice is distinguished by its unwavering commitment to sustainability and this particular project expands that concept into resiliency. The Oregon State Treasury Building project goes beyond mere green elements. The resulting design achieves a LEED Platinum equivalent performance. Impressively the building also received a Platinum rating from the U.S. Resiliency Council (USRC). This is the highest rating possible and was the first bestowed on a state of Oregon building.
The 2-story, steel-framed, 37,000sf office building is located on nearly 7 acres in the sometimes seismically active Pacific Northwest USA. The building utilizes an extensively engineered base isolation system to protect the structure, occupants, and contents from earthquakes. Effectively this isolator system is placed underneath the entire building and reduces 75% of the ground shaking forces. According to an account by KPFF, the building engineers, numerous isolators were tuned for each column location in the building based on the location-specific dead and live loads, as well as the target isolation system properties (e.g., stiffness, frequency, damping, etc.). The base isolation system is designed so that the people are kept safe, and the building and the equipment inside remain undamaged. Building to this vibration resilient standard permits the Oregon State Treasury Department to operate in a post-disaster role after a ‘Maximum Considered Earthquake Event’ in the region. This is the organization entrusted with the distribution of critical Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relief funds if such an event were to occur.
Categorically considered alongside other 20-year buildings, the Oregon State Treasury Department building was designed and constructed with a 100-year mindset. The building’s exterior is a contemporary panel clad design that makes extensive use of large windows and glass walls. These elements facilitate an abundance of natural light, reducing the dependency on artificial lighting, and enhancing the workspace’s open look and comfortable feel, all while boosting energy efficiency. The building daylight and views oriented to north for soft even daylighting and unobstructed views to natural forested areas which are home to abundant wildlife.
Sustainability at Its Core:
The Oregon State Treasury Department features various eco-conscious elements. Energy-efficient systems are seamlessly integrated, from the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that reduce energy consumption to the eco-friendly building materials that create a healthier indoor environment.
The building’s roof accommodates a 238kW rooftop PV array sized for a net zero operation that can offset annual building electrical consumption. Further, a 250kW battery system reduces peak energy demand and allows the building to operate seamlessly between grid tied and island modes. There is also a system back-up 300kW diesel generator coupled to a 96-hour dedicated fuel tank.
SpecLink was used to develop and deliver the building project specifications. By GBD Architects’ account it was up to the task and seemed to reflect the detailed and rigorous criteria of the design team.
RIB Software thanks Craig Stockbridge, Principal, Chris Wayburn, Associate Principal, and Katie Windsor, Associate Principal, at GBD Architects for their time and contributions to this article. Contact them or see more of their portfolio at www.gbdarchitects.com.
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State of Oregon
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