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Steve L.

I general a very nice building, the pure glass cube exterior is reminiscent of Memorial Coliseum.

I do not like the large light sculpture profiles seen in this flickr page:

I wish Mr. Knight’s educational interests were a little broader with so many public educational institutions fighting to preserve their funding.


That moat around the building sends quite the message to the rest of the university.


Mr. Knight has been more than generous with his attentions to many parts of the U of O , and should be celebrated. The areas
he has helped , bring the quality of the institution higher. I just hope he retains a more interesting Designer next time. Corporate guys do corpoate work. This building could be a masoleum. The Knight Basketball design is so up scale 90's shopping mall...
Anyway , great job Phil , and don't hesitate to call if you need some interesting Design.


Over the Eugene Weekly blog they report a group of students organizing against the limited access (athletes only) issue.

Steve L.

Is there a special connection between Albert Einstein and Oregon or athletics?

Scott Tice

I am proud to be a vendor of record for this building. Projects like this should be celebrated but instead I hear so much negativity... or should I say jealousy? Bravo to ZGF once again, and to everyone involved that went above and beyond to see it realized.

BTW Benson provided the glass on the exterior, and the interior was done by Culver.


Sure, the building itself seems great...
But I bet it is an energy disaster. You know that whole dual-facade scheme sounds better than it actually performs...We will see how this one fails miserably. We'll see as the heating and cooling bills rack up.

And despite the inspiring words about all the natural light, it is likely that the glare is not taken into account. They will probably be installing window coverings before long.

Lastly the reflection pool...which really is a moat, is the worst thing that they could have done here. I can't believe they did that. And that Brian forgot to even mention it, being a such significant part of the site and building design.


I've only seen this building in pictures here and in the Oregonian article about it, but it looks great in both instances; simple, beautiful design. Its unique ventilation system should be able to produce at least some of the cooling and heating needs for the building.

It's a laugh to hear people refer to the water around the building as a 'moat'. This is not a moat. It's a reflecting pool. Some of the beautiful reflections it casts can be seen in the pics above.

A moat is a deep water filled ditch that functions as a fortification against intruders. Did anybody that calls this reflecting pool a moat bother to check if this water is much more than a foot deep, if that? Come spring, freshman will probably be out wading in the pool...skinny-dipping if they've got any spirit at all.


It seems as though the "reflecting pool" is intended to enhance the aesthetic of the building as a dematerializing glass object. Fine. But you can't ignore that it creates a physical distance between the rest of the student body and those inside. It may have not been intentional, but it is certainly the result. It is a building to be seen and admired from afar by all, and only the lucky few get to enter across the threshold of the moat-err...reflecting pool. Truly a temple for college athletes. I just think it is an unfortunate use of a one-liner in an otherwise tightly detailed project.


To divorce the building of its symbolic meaning is impossible and futile. the fetishization of sport at the university will reach its height of absurdity with the opening of this and the Knight Arena. It just makes me hate Nike and UO that they are willing to construct such an arrogant testament to waste!


It's a beautiful building, but think the best new building on a campus should be its library, its department of philosophy, student union building...in short the kinds of spaces that promote interaction and learning. A walled-off enclave for elite athletics is really the antithesis of a learning institution.

Brian Libby

With all due respect, I don't think some of you are being completely fair.

The water feature outside the Jaqua Center is not a moat. There is no water on the Agate Street entrance to the building - it's very inviting. And the reflecting pool on the other three sides is simply a beautiful feature that emphasizes the transparent yet reflective quality of the building.

What's more, even though there is an unfortunate disparity between the Jaqua Center and several other lesser UO buildings, it's misreading the system to suggest that we should not have a Jaqua Center simply because the other buildings are not as nice. The Jaqua Center is privately funded. The other buildings are publicly funded.

If we want UO's other buildings to be as nice as the Jaqua Center, we should follow Phil Knight's lead and invest our money like he did. For example, if 20,000 of us (less than half of a football game audience) put up $1,000 apiece, we'd have $20 million to help build a better library or student union. If 19,999 of you are willing to do so, I'll join in. Or better yet, we could raise taxes to pay for better buildings at Oregon, PSU and even Oregon State. Who is with me on raising taxes?

It's not an either-or proposition with the Jaqua Center and other nice campus buildings. Phil Knight is no saint, but his benefaction isn't a bad thing. It just means that exposes the rest of us who aren't contributing enough to the university system.


In architecture, we talk about a building being a jewel. This one seems to fit that description literally. It is lovely as an object and the daylight on the interior is a triumph.
I like that they were able to make a true double curtain wall, which is actually a very good way to manage heat gain.
ZGF is top notch.
With that said, I am concerned with the exclusive nature of the facility. I also am not sure if this pristine object fits in U of O's earthy, community oriented campus.
I need to go see it in person to make a final judgement.

Steve L.

On the positive, I like the way the reflection of the building seems to complete the lower half of the perfect cube. I would like to see it at night. Reflecting pools can be nice and inviting to all people if well maintained. Did Mr. Knight endow a long-term maintenance fund?

It is difficult for me to be positive about this educational “Taj Mahal” (and others) when I know so many blind children were told just last year they should go to Washington to get a proper education because Oregon could no longer afford to maintain THEIR 137-year-old endowment from Henry Failing, the Oregon School for the Blind.

I wish Mr. Knight wanted a legacy like that of Henry Failing.

It sounds like U of O needs to open the building up to the public. Students still know how to protest right?


I heard there have been some head injuries there during the first week of tours. It seems people are confused by the glass and reflections. The funding of the building is described at the blog called uomatters. Does anyone know why this academic center project had to move the alumni center project to a new spot, hidden behind the arena ?


Given some of the critical comments above, I suppose it's fair to ask about the 'Center for Student Athletes', what type of programs and curricula take place in this building that may not be open to the student population at large of UO? Is this primarily a facility for star athletes the university spends a lot of money recruiting with scholarships, that aren't academically such great students?


it's a tutoring facility for athletes

some athletes require more help (and privacy) than most UO students, as a few are coming from under-privileged backgrounds.

this is not a "public" facility in the sense that everyone has access to it. but that doesn't mean it's not a beneficial new member of the campus. the ground floor is open to all, with a nice cafe and indoor/outdoor seating. the upper levels are reserved for student athletes getting help: for instance, study hall is required for freshmen; and they don't need the distraction of the world wandering through.

there are reasonable reasons for restricted access to various facilities around campus, but it seems some folks aren't reasonable enough to remember the privacies and benefits they themselves enjoy. how about we all get a key to your dorm room? :p

Steve L.

It's a tutoring facility not a dorm room. If they didn't want people wandering through then maybe they shouldn't have made it so opulent, like the Taj Mahal. Don't the classrooms have doors?

I don't really care that much if they open it to the public, but they are reinforcing the perception of the athlete as a privileged class of student.


steve l

yes, it's a tutoring facility. with counseling areas. with meeting areas. and a cafe. and offices. it has privacy and security requirements that are unique.

get over the cost. every building has a cost. they aren't cheap. and this one happens to have a donor.

i could imagine being upset if the state chose to spend what you perceive to be more than necessary (your "taj mahal")...but this is a private donor...be happy he did give the money to UO and not to some other institution

the public can use the first floor. and the campus just got nicer on someone else's dime...a lot nicer!


It smells like discrimination to me. The NCAA does not allow for student athletes to receive special benefits based on their athletic ability, but this seems to be just that. Do non athletes not need the tutoring? Perhaps non-athletes in a similar academic range never would have been admitted to the university?
What if Mr Knight only allowed athletes from certain sports, like football and basketball, because they gave the most exposure to the swoosh, but not men's water polo, because they weren't on TV.
I don't have any problem with donors dedicating their donations for certain endeavors, but I find it unfortunate that a state university allows this type of discrimination. It unfortunately sends the wrong message to the rest of the student population and does little to change the perception that major college athletics are all about money and elitism.
But honestly this has little to do with the architecture, and everything to do with the schools poor management of the facility.


It is a moat.
But I like the rest of it.
Thanks Brian, I appreciate your blog.


I think the restricted access would not be such a issue if the furnishings did not seem to be 10,000 dollar couches like they do. I walked through the building on week one and then this week. Why did they put bright yellow carpet in there ? It is already messed up. As far as the moat goes......it will be okay until the skateboarders realize that a rail-slide through the waterfall trick is possible there. The center brings the term "Lamborghini urbanism" to mind. If it were on the other side of the river it would get little notice. As the new "front door" for the university excluding anyone from any part of the building is dicey.


you don't mind individual donors directing funds to specific projects, but you have a problem with an underfunded education system accepting state of the art facilities for its students?!?

athletics is all about money and elitism? i'll grant you athletics aren't innocent, but don't be naive about society being egalitarian

go visit the law school, the business school, any medical school and you will discover that they are typically better appointed than any liberal arts facilities. do you get upset in the law library?

and btw, you gotta get certain grades and test scores to get in; or you gotta run a 4.3s 40...pick your criteria and come to UO...or go somewhere else...your choice. life is not egalitarian...you already beat out other unfortunates who could have had your spot in school, elitist!


ac, you seem to be taking this very personally. issues perhaps?
I have absolutely no problem with the amount spent on this building or any other building, or the cost of furniture or finishes.
I simply consider it discrimination for a public university to close off the building to a certain demographic of the student body.
Is the architecture library only for arch students?
You are correct, I have already beat out other unfortunates to attend school, I did that by agreeing to pay the 20k+ per year in tuition.
And if you are going to quote me, including the entire quote "major college athletics are all about money and elitism."

Steve L.

Are the needs of the students for a quiet private tutoring facility being usurped and compromised by the desires of Mike Bellotti for a striking public “recruiting tool for luring top athletes from other regions of the country” and by Phil Knight’s desire to have a dramatic architectural legacy?


no, no issues...maybe a little too enthusiastic in my response and i shouldn't be name-calling, sorry!

but, my point is: equal access is a myth even with publicly-funded projects. it's not discrimination


no, no issues...sorry for the name calling. i was a little over the top.

my point: equal access in publicly funded projects is a myth. and it's not discrimination. many examples are available if you look.


ac, please provide some examples to make your point, in regards to a similar academic type building...because i'm looking, but not seeing.


A interesting new billboard is up about a block east from the "jock in a box" facility. Read about it in the Register Guard or Emerald.

Business Process Improvement Training

Amazing stills.. thank u Brian.......


I have a class on the 2nd story M & W. I get, well, what I call harassed every time I "try" to go to class. It's nearly a 2 hour class. During a quick break I ventured to the ladies bathroom only to be stopped by one of the staff and was told I would have to use the restroom on the 1st floor. The building is great, but I'm not liking the tight security. I arrived 5 minutes early to class and plopped down on one of the nice yellow couches. BIG MISTAKE. I was asked to return to the 1st floor until my class began. What would happen if I refused?


I forgot to mention. I am NOT an athlete.


I think it is completely stunning and well detailed, as per usual for ZGF's work. I appreciate it for what it is... like someone mentioned above, "the jewelbox." Well done, ZGF/Gene Sandoval.


Wow, I'm pretty sure that Phil Knight has donated millions of dollars to libraries and other educational areas of UofO. So he likes sports. It was working with the sports program that started Nike. So now he is giving back to the sports program. I'll give back to the Accounting program where I study because that is where I got my start. That's how things should be.

If you think that Art is important and deserves more funding, than give back to your art program. It's that easy. If you think Libraries are important than donate to the library. Done Deal.

Debye Darling

Oh quit your Bitching, and show some appreciation. You can't please everyone all of the time. No matter where/what Mr. Knight's money was earmarked for some of you "Mr. Public" would find something to complain about. No wonder others are so hesitant to give.

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