The University of Oregon’s Knight Campus has released design details of its second science building now under construction. The sprawling facility will enable the evolution of a new bioengineering program at the U of O.
After two years of planning and a $500 million cash infusion from Phil and Penny Knight, the 185,000-square-foot research building is going up. Artist renderings depict open air classrooms, labs and “maker’s spaces” for students to invent and build prototypes.
For UO Vice President and Knight Campus Executive Director Bob Guldberg, this is where biosciences and bioengineering converge.
“You have to bring together different disciplines, different areas of expertise to tackle tough problems,” he said. “And create spaces that allow people to collaborate.”
While bioengineering is an emerging field of study at U of O, Guldberg said they’ll continue to partner with Oregon State University, renowned for its engineering program. “It doesn’t make sense to compete so we’re not doing that, at all.”
Guldberg said the Knight Campus also collaborates with Oregon Health Sciences University and the Knight Cancer Institute. They have a joint bio-medical data science center to share research findings.
“There are lots of opportunities to combine our complimentary areas of strength and also be able to compete for larger funding opportunities from the federal government and elsewhere. We’re definitely embracing the partnership approach rather than building redundancies,” Guldberg said.
“You really need to strike a balance with a science building to make sure that it’s highly functional to support all of the work that the students and the faculty are doing,” he said. “But you also want to inspire people. Because part of great science is being able to communicate what we’re doing out into the public.”
Guldberg said people need to see the science.
“One thing that the new building will feature as you walk in is immediately on the right you will have a big window into a brand new state of the art core facility that will be doing bio-fabrication and bio-analysis,” he said.
Such as creating 3-dimensional human tissues, for example. The new facility will enable the development of new personalized medical tools that could be used to monitor health, regenerate new tissue, and treat cancer and other ailments.
Building 2 will include a public café alongside Eugene’s Millrace, a floating central staircase, an open-air courtyard and the second of two Papé Family Innovation Center facilities.
Right now, there are 13 faculty on the Knight Campus and that number will grow to around 30 when the new building is completed, Guldberg said.
Building 2 is part of the second phase of Knight Campus development and is made possible by a second $500 million gift from the Knights for the campus bearing their names. Guldberg said that donation will also pay for faculty and programs.
The Oregon legislature has approved $10 million to support technologies and equipment in the new Building 2.
The Knight Campus is made possible by a $500 million lead gift from Penny and Phil Knight in 2016, augmented with $70 million in state bonds.
Building 2 is scheduled to open in December 2025.