Honoring the Region’s Maritime Heritage and Identity

Maritime Science Building

Clatsop Community College, MERTS Campus

The Maritime Science Building will elevate the recognition of Clatsop Community College’s coastal educational program as it continues to grow into the most comprehensive industrial and marine technology center in the Pacific Northwest. This facility reflects the college’s commitment to the future of the region and its mission to inspire and engage the entire community.


15,500 sf


Astoria, OR

Year Complete


Specialized Training Programs

This new 15,500 sf facility will house general and specialized classrooms including a machine room, offices, conference space and other instructional and building support spaces for their Maritime Science, coastal resources, environmental studies, scientific research training and Industrial and Manufacturing Technologies career and technical academic and training programs. Cantilevers on both sides of the building create spacious, covered outdoor workspaces below. The enhanced access to quality training establishes a place of educational, cultural and economic participation to provide jobs and growth for the next generation of leaders.

Campus Enhancement

As only the fourth building on the Marine and Environmental Research and Training Station (MERTS) campus, the siting of the building is of high importance. SRG’s design integrates the building into the existing campus and its natural surroundings, while also creating a unique destination and arrival point for the campus that strengthens the sense of place and the maritime identity and brand.

As the portal to campus and the first structure people encounter, the transparent atrium invites views in for arrivals and views out for students and staff completing training courses. A large, graphic map of where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, made of perforated wood, celebrates the identity, scope and purpose of the rigorous program.


Located adjacent to the Columbia River, the MERTS Campus sits on land that was dredged from the riverbed. The soil is sandy and silty, creating a high risk of soil liquefaction in a seismic event, a key challenge for the project. By limiting the square footage of the main floor, less of the necessary foundation of 1,100 rock pierces drilled 60-ft down to bedrock is required to support it. To accommodate the rest of the program a large second floor cantilevers over the site, tying back to the structure and taking advantage of the deep piers’ strength.

Design Concept

The design of the building evokes the feel of a working ship with steel, mechanical systems, and stairways exposed, highlighting the hands-on ethos of the training program. The building structure and interiors use mass timber to convey the atmosphere of a ship, as well as honor the region’s timber industry. Additionally, the span of mass timber eliminates internal columns, leaving the space open and adaptable as programming needs evolve. Circulating through the building will feel like navigating the bridge on a maritime vessel.