Tykeson Hall Construction Update: Geologic Formation On Display

A unique aspect of the University of Oregon campus is, if you dig more than 5 or 6 feet underground, there’s a good chance you will hit rock ­– specifically the Eugene Formation, a local geologic formation that has preserved fossils dating back to the Paleogene period.

Tykeson Hall’s basement was carved out of this formation, and after having a chance to study the exposed ledge at the planned south lightwell, the University asked the design team to look at leaving this unique geological feature exposed, where it could be seen through the windows of the 100-seat classroom planned for the basement. With a revised planting plan for the slope above, the project now plans to leave the formation and its many exposed fossils on view. It’s the only location on UO campus where the formation will be visible for study – hopefully by some geology students!

South Hills House Construction Sequence

The South Hills House has come a long way since fall of last year. Here is a construction sequence of the terrace. One can see the clear volumes and signature cantilevered roof taking shape, the dramatic slope of the site being reconciled, and the envelope—an Equitone fibre-cement rainscreen system—being developed. Currently, the owners are in the process of moving into their new home.

"Topping Out" Ceremony for Tykeson Hall


Tykeson Hall’s “topping out” was celebrated this Friday. Willie Tykeson, Dean Marcus, other key donors and UO members, and the construction workers on the building signed the final steel beam that was then, via a crane, lifted into place. The ceremony commemorates the completion of the last major piece of structure for the project. Now the construction team—Fortis Construction and its many subcontractors—with support of the design team will turn to the cladding of the building, followed by installation of the interior finishes. Tykeson is slated to open in Fall 2019.  

Tykeson Hall's Crane Featured in the Daily Emerald

(Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

Article in the Daily Emerald

Meet UO’s campus crane operator

By Zach Prince
The Daily Emerald
July 30, 2018

Perched far above the claustrophobic PLC offices, looming over the infamous steps of Johnson Hall, sits a 172 EC-B Liebherr tower crane. Standing at more than 200 feet in the air, the view from the crane’s cab might be one of the best in town. On a clear day, one can see everything from Eugene’s east hills and Hendricks Park to the city’s tallest building, the Ya-Po-Ah Terrace.

Sitting atop the swaying beast is Ray McArthur, who is tasked with operating the crane for Nesscampbell, a Northwest-based crane and rigging company. McArthur, 63, has worked as a crane operator for more than 30 years and operated cranes for numerous construction projects on both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University’s campuses. 

  In Eugene, Ray McArthur operated cranes for the construction of Matthew Knight Arena, the EMU’s renovation, student housing, Autzen Stadium’s renovation, the Casanova extension, The Rec and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

In Eugene, Ray McArthur operated cranes for the construction of Matthew Knight Arena, the EMU’s renovation, student housing, Autzen Stadium’s renovation, the Casanova extension, The Rec and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

In Eugene, McArthur operated cranes for the construction of Matthew Knight Arena, the EMU’s renovation, student housing, Autzen Stadium’s renovation, the Casanova extension, The Rec and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. He also worked on multiples projects at OSU including Reser Stadium and a science building. He is currently working on the Tykeson Hall construction project, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2019.

McArthur, who lives in Pleasant Hill, Oregon, is a seasoned tower crane operator who portrays a surprising amount of calmness despite using such heavy machinery. But that wasn’t always the case.

“I used to seriously have to sit with two rags on my legs,” McArthur said. “I’d rub my hands on them just ‘cause I’d sweat that much.”

McArthur worked as a laborer in the construction industry for 10 years before he became involved in operating heavy machinery. He first started out operating boom trucks, then hydro cranes and continued to move into working with larger equipment as time went on. The first time he operated a crane was when a construction site superintendent asked if he would cover for the site’s tower operator, who had gone on vacation for the week.

“[The superintendent’s] operator in Portland was going to go deer hunting or something, so he wanted to know if I would cover for him,” McArthur said. “I had never been in a tower crane before so I said ‘Hell yeah, let’s do it.’”

There was no required training or necessary qualifications for operating tower cranes when McArthur first began operating in the 1980s. Now there is a five-year apprenticeship required to break into the profession.

On his first job, the site superintendent promised McArthur a week-long training session from the regular operator. After not finding time to go up in the crane on either Monday or Tuesday, the two finally made it up on Wednesday for a two-hour training session. The operator then told McArthur they would pick up where they left off the next morning, but that isn’t how it happened.

“Thursday morning, I’m waiting for the operator to show up to give me some more instruction,” McArthur said. “So I’m looking around, looking around and the son of a gun never came back in. Two hours of training and then the thing was in my lap. Talk about being scared.”

McArthur was thrown into the fire on his first crane operating job, but even after two decades of experience, he still considers his profession stressful.

“It gets pretty intense sometimes,” McArthur said. “I didn’t have grey hair before I started this job.”

The level of stress McArthur regularly experiences depends on factors such as the weather conditions, how much work there is and what type of work needs to be completed.

McArthur says the best way to avoid those stressful situations is good communication. Groundworkers communicate with the crane operator by using a combination of radio messages and hand signals. On large construction sites, operators work with a bellman who serves as eyes on the ground, but for smaller sites such as Tykeson Hall, McArthur is on his own.

In order to work safely and effectively, operators must build a trust with the workers on the ground, McArthur said. This is especially true when the crane is operating in a blind spot that McArthur can’t see.

“If I can see it, I don’t sweat it,” McArthur said, “but if I can’t see it, if I’m picking stuff out of the basement or way over there where I can’t see, then those guys are running the crane, basically. I’m just doing what they tell me to do.”

Luckily, McArthur knows most of the other workers on the Tykeson Hall site, which gives him insight on who to trust and who to keep a closer eye on.

McArthur thought that Tykeson Hall would be his last job before retirement, but he’s a motorhead and couldn’t resist making an investment in a classic Chevy Nova last fall. Instead of retiring, he will operate the tower crane for the Knight Science Campus construction project, which broke ground in March 2018.

But for McArthur, delaying his retirement plans isn’t such a bad thing. Despite the stress that can come with being a crane operator, he truly loves the work he has made a career out of.

“I like the guys I work with. I like the challenge because every day is a challenge,” McArthur said. “Every day is something different. It’s not the same thing every day.”

For the full photo gallery, see "Photos: Climbing the campus crane" by Sarah Northrop.

1203 Willamette Construction Vignettes

Shout out to Project Superintendent Trevor Mael, Project Manager Dan Skotte, and their team at Essex General Construction for making all these vignettes possible!

1203 Willamette Construction Sequences

Steps in the Sequence:

1. Existing 2017 Facade 

2. Existing Facade Stripped Back to Reveal Original Structure

3. Existing Columns Reinforced and New Columns Inserted

4. Glulam and Concrete Shear Wall Inserted; Weather Barrier Going in Place

5. Windows, Garage Doors, and Cladding Installed

6. Finished 2018 Facade

Steps in the Sequence:

1. Existing 2017 Interior with Metal Window Grating Removed

2. Existing Wall Stripped Back to Reveal Original Structure

3. New Columns Inserted

4. Gypcrete Floor Installed

5. Sprinklers Installed

6. Finished 2018 Interior - Rowell Brokaw's Office

OSU's New Ice Core Freezers

Project Manager Tricia Berg stepped into the −13°C ice core freezer as part of her punch list for the OSU Marine and Geology Repository. In order to ensure the perfect temperature for ice cores collected around the world, this room is equipped with evaporators, insulated sandwich panels, and an insulated concrete slab. Tricia also inspected the sediment sample rooms where sediments will be placed within the 23' tall space on 19' racks. A specialized sprinkler system with high pressure water serves as a back-up emergency system for the space. In the coming weeks, precious ice and sediment cores, acquired from Florida State under a national grant program, will be stored in OSU's new repository facility.

Amazon Corner Construction Update

June 8, 2018. View of Spencer Butte from 5th floor terrace. 

Form needs a face. The cladding for Amazon Corner is being installed. The building will feature a mix of brick veneer, Parklex, stucco, and metal cladding. The site is also coming along. A stormwater planter has been cast in the parking lot. A concrete, jogged walkway in the divider between lanes on Hilyard Street marks the beginning of a pedestrian crosswalk. Amazon Corner is anticipated to open in September.

Concrete Pour for Tykeson Hall

On March 19 from 12:30 AM until 9 AM, Fortis Construction poured the 30" thick slab for the foundation of Tykeson Hall. It took 130 concrete trucks--1300 yards of concrete--to make the slab!

Live Web Cam of UO Tykeson Hall

Over winter break at the University of Oregon, Fortis Construction began to excavate the site for Tykeson Hall. They jump-started this process in order to minimize disruptions on campus. Now excavation has been completed and work on the foundation will begin. For live updates on construction, see the College of Arts and Sciences' website. Their menu also has a link for construction time-lapses.

Storm Damage Repair Projects at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology

A harsh winter storm in 2016 damaged parts of the The Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB), a marine station owned by the University of Oregon and located on 100-acres in Charleston, at the mouth of Coos Bay. RB has been performing roof replacements, road repair, and dock repair. The OIMB offers undergraduate and graduate students an array of courses in marine biology, including marine birds and mammals, the biology of fishes, deep-sea and subtidal ecology, and marine environmental issues. The institute is comprised of teaching laboratories, research facilities, dormitories, the Loyd and Dorothy Rippey Library, and the Charleston Marine Life Center, an aquarium and museum.

Amazon Corner Construction Update

Construction is moving along at Amazon Corner in South Eugene. Having completed the post-tensioned slabs of the basement and first floor, Essex Construction is installing the wood wall framing for the housing units. Before the weather turned, walls were being pre-fabricated on-site through a makeshift assembly line. Once completed, a stack of walls was lifted by a crane onto the building floor plate and then each wall was tilted into place. Currently, workers are constructing more traditional stud walls. In the installation of the floors, workers are hanging floor joists from the wall framing—a technique that has become standard in Portland. Many structural engineers prefer this method for a host of reasons: it eliminates rim boards, uses less wood product overall, may reduce building height shrinkage, and offers better insulative performance.

New Tenants Coming to Crescent Village

There is a buzz of activity at Crescent Village East and the Inkwell Building with tenant improvements and upgrades to leasable spaces underway. NorthFork, a new restaurant serving rustic comfort food and craft beer, as well as a veterinarian office are joining the ground-floor mix of retail, restaurants, and offices at Crescent Village. Built in 2006 and 2007, Crescent Village has two mixed-use buildings at its center, both with 51 apartment units over 18,000 sf of retail space. In 2009, Crescent Village expanded to include the Inkwell Building, a LEED-certified 36,000 sf mixed-use office and retail building. 

Panoramas of Pacific Hall

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Pacific Hall is being transformed into a new research hub for the Human Physiology, Geography, and Anthropology departments at the UO. A typical lab has four open bays, each 10’8” by 22’0”, and a fifth, enclosed bay that serves as flex space for a clean room, biopsy room, data analysis area, and/or office. Each entry will be storefront and have a seating bench for socializing in the corridor. Alignment of entry zones across corridors creates sight lines between labs and to the outdoors.

Student Tour of Amazon Corner

Ken Hutchinson of Rowell Brokaw and Andy Driscoll of Essex Construction lead a tour of Amazon Corner for University of Oregon architecture students. Amazon Corner is a 120,000 sf mixed-use apartment building in South Eugene. This 4-over-1 building has four floors of wood framed construction above ground floor and second floor post-tensioned concrete slabs.

Andersen Construction Performs the Impossible

During a planned power outage for the Pacific Hall renovation to replace the rooftop electrical transformer this weekend, the Pacific team encountered a serious problem. When power was transferred to backup Friday evening around 6pm and the old transformer removed, it was discovered that the steel structure under the platform supporting the existing transformer was nothing like the as-builts the design team had been working from. The original plan to modify the existing structure to accommodate the new, 40% heavier transformer no longer made sense.

From 7pm to 2am that night, Austin Bailey, John Rowell, and Matt Travis of Rowell Brokaw and Ed Quesenberry of Equilibrium Engineers worked with Mike Wold, Dan Porovich, and Wendell Dietrich of Andersen Construction to modify the design on the fly. The solution ultimately required structural reinforcing/modification of some of the existing steel members and coordinating with Andersen Construction what could actually be built in and around the existing conditions. What should have taken roughly 6 hours of steel modification ended up requiring about 24 hours of continuous cutting, grinding, and welding. The Andersen crew put in a tremendous amount of effort and work with carpenters Brad Hellesto and Rob Hansen working through the night to complete the additional modifications.

Dozens of electricians from OEG were on-site throughout the weekend. Working on shifts 24/7 to complete multiple new equipment installations and to restore power by Monday morning. Because of the platform modifications, the new transformer reached the roof about 10 hours later than had been intended. However, because of the combined effort of Andersen Construction and OEG, they were able to gain back that time through Saturday night and Sunday.

Thanks to everyone involved in overcoming the challenges of this weekend! It’s wonderful to be a part of such a resourceful and committed team.

Construction Underway at Jefferson Library

After seven years of passionate fundraising, the Jefferson Library is under construction. Adjacent to the City Hall, the library will serve its growing population's needs, offering multi-media services and a civic meeting room. 

The Saga of Sawdust: Creating a Wall of Sawdust for the Roseburg Forest Products Headquarters

Early in the design phase of the Roseburg Forest Products (RFP) project, Rowell Brokaw travelled with the RFP design team to the DIRTT headquarters in Calgary, Canada. Since 2003, DIRTT has been creating innovative modular wall systems. During their visit, the design team saw a glass wall full of lemons that DIRTT had created for Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Initially, they joked about making the equivalent for Roseburg Forest Products: a wall of sawdust to represent the company’s goal to have “sawdust in the veins.” But as the design for the new headquarters developed, the joke started to gain credence until the wall of sawdust became part of the design. “The more we talked about the idea,” Britni Jessup of RB recounted, “the more we realized that it represented more than an architectural feature—it represented who RFP is and a message to their employees and visitors about their history and their values.”

The design team selected DIRTT’s “Evil Twin” wall, in which one of the glass panels must mirror, despite its wishes, the other panel’s position. Everyone was worried about dust, moisture and living things becoming sealed in the wall. The wood chips came directly from the mill floor in Roseburg. “Imagine if there was a hatch within the wall,” Britni explained, “it would be hard to fix and would cause serious problems. Gordon Rea at McKenzie Commercial did a series of mock-ups to find a solution we were all comfortable with.” The following method turned out to work: dry Roseburg Forest Products’ wood chips and sawdust in an old clothes dryer, spread the dry and clean wood chips and sawdust on a plastic sheet, apply countless layers of lacquer, fill glass panels with wood chips and sawdust through a giant funnel of cardboard lined with slippery craft paper, and finally angle and ease panels up into their locking position within the wall.

The wall took days to install: it took three guys to take a panel off and mess with the sawdust height before locking it back in place. Britni created a line of blue tape to help with the heights. In the final design, the sawdust made a continuous, undulating line between six glass panels. The wall is now one of the signature features of the entry at the headquarters. Employees and visitors alike can actually see the sawdust in RFP's veins.

For more on the sawdust wall and the innovations of the DIRTT wall system, read the following article featured in officeinsight, an online magazine that focuses on workplace design and furnishings: