Establishing an Active Hub for Science

Johnson Hall

Oregon State University

The new Johnson Hall anchors the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering on the Oregon State University campus. This 21st-century research lab was designed to attract future generations to the field of engineering.


58,000 sf


Corvallis, OR

Year Complete


Not only has it transformed the Oregon State University landscape, but it will transform the lives of the students who walk these halls, and those students will graduate and go out and transform the world. The transparent glass walls to the labs make research visible to anyone walking by, and the open floor plan concept encourages interest, innovation, and interdisciplinary collaboration. I look forward to the research made possible here. Scott Ashford, College of Engineering Kearney Professor and Dean

Creating a Campus Hub

SRG sited the building footprint by rotating it 90° to frame a previously underutilized open space

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Site Plan

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The resulting plaza creates a student hub and allows Johnson Hall to put science and engineering on display

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Framing a New Open Space on Campus

The Johnson Hall site was deliberately located at the crossroads of two major campus pedestrian routes, immediately north of Kelley Engineering Center and Ballard Hall. Early in the design process, the building footprint was rotated 90°. With this move, the new building’s south façade framed a previously underutilized open space and set the stage for a lively campus hub, while also preserving land to the north for future development. The resultant plaza now serves as an extension of social spaces at the ground level of each building. Johnson Hall’s open and inviting building entry and adjacent collaboration spaces activate this revitalized open space, creating a dynamic presence on the new Engineering Plaza.

Putting Learning on Display

The building reaches beyond its walls. The position and orientation of the building enhances the adjacent engineering building complex, framing a new open space on campus. Placement of collaborative study areas with large windows at the building’s entrance adds activity and energy to the building façade and activates the public space. This collaborative “hub” has become the exciting new destination for all engineering students.

Access to Daylight

The open, bright building has floor-to-ceiling glass walls and many large windows, which supply ample natural light throughout the facility. The three-story, 58,000 SF structure includes a 125-seat lecture hall, state-of-the-art research labs and teaching laboratories, and a women’s center focused on attracting, supporting, and retaining female engineer students.

Enhancing Interdisciplinary Research

Johnson Hall is equipped with flexible, 21st century instructional and research space, designed to encourage multidisciplinary interaction. The labs and teaching spaces support an emerging educational paradigm of practicum-based curricula. The College of Engineering has replaced large lecture courses and moved to an entirely studio-based core curriculum to better prepare their students for the multidisciplinary engineering workplaces of the future.