Linking Sustainable Industries with Future Developments in Forestry Sciences

Richardson Hall

Oregon State University

Richardson Hall houses OSU’s Department of Wood Science and Engineering and the Department of Forest Science, forming a forestry research campus with the adjacent College of Forestry facilities and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forestry Sciences Laboratory.


101,000 sf


Corvallis, OR

Year Complete


2002 Merit Award — AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Design Awards

2001 Citation Award — IIDA Portland Design Awards

1999 Honor Award — AIA Portland Architecture Awards

1999 Craftsmanship Award — AIA Portland Architecture Awards

1999 Hammurabi Award of Excellence — Masonry Institute of Oregon

The 3-story, 101,000 gsf facility has a U-shaped configuration dominated by two major wings that connect at their intersection with existing College of Forestry facilities. The modern labs, classrooms, and greenhouses enable OSU to conduct leading research in such areas as forest ecology, climate change, sustainable forestry, and product development. It features a quarantine facility for insect pests; a rooftop greenhouse for transgenic plants; a larger, more secure hazardous material preparation and storage lab for wood preservation studies; and a new reaction floor for testing the strength of laminated beams and entire floor or roof assemblies.

The north wing contains department and faculty offices, conference areas, and a long-distance teaching classroom. The south wing contains additional faculty offices, research labs and lab support areas, and a state-of-the-art BSL-3 greenhouse quarantine lab. Adjoining this wing is a one-story, high-bay product testing area with a 300,000-psf-capacity reaction wall and floor, kilns, large materials storage, and an exterior work yard. The intersection of the north and south wings serves as the college’s central interaction area, or hearth, opening to the central courtyard and interconnecting the new building and existing facilities at all floor levels.

Richardson Hall’s exteriors incorporate red brick, precast concrete, and sloping metal roofs mandated university design standards. To reflect the forestry discipline of the building’s occupants, prominent wood features were used to define the roof eaves, the open stairs, and all major public locations. Graphic details at the metal spandrels and on the glass surfaces reinforce this forest motif. The building’s sustainable features include natural light (and views) for all research offices and labs, natural ventilation with operable windows at all office locations, use of recycled materials, and energy efficient building systems.

The building and its site plan create four major exterior spaces: a ceremonial, campus entry and lawn to the north; a central tree-covered informal gravel courtyard facing west; a research work yard to the south; and a shared sub-level service area to the east. By aligning the building with the neighboring USDA Forestry Services labs, this design enhances the multi-institutional character of OSU’s forest research district.