Usually, an exit stair is a walled-in box, tucked away, out of sight. This exit stair had a unique problem: it could only occur in one location, right in the middle of campus open space. The stair is an addition to the existing underground Integrative Science Laboratory. It provides an egress path required by code, and eliminates a security conflict with the adjacent research building.
The University of Oregon Campus Planning Committee allowed the stair enclosure to intrude into campus open space on one condition: that the building preserve views through the campus open space and minimize its own presence. To the greatest extent possible, they wanted the exit stair to disappear.
The completed stair enclosure is a minimal steel and glass structure using only a 1/2" steel plate roof, bearing on cantilevered pipe columns. The enclosure is designed to be unconditioned and naturally ventilated, allowing the form to be streamlined and the walls to be all glass. The single pane glass is 100% clear and set in a frameless glazing system. The result is a simple glass box, a see-through addition to the campus landscape.