This 310,000-square-foot building located halfway between Portland and historic Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood uses sustainable building materials like Western Red Cedar both for durability and ease of working. The design team at Dull Olson Weekes Architects–IBI Group (DOWA-IBI) based in Portland, employed a broad range of sustainable-design strategies that reduce the school’s carbon footprint and tie it to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Where shading was needed, the architects used deep overhangs and a combination of vertical and horizontal Western Red Cedar louvers. According to the project’s senior designer, the building will perform about 54 percent more efficiently in terms of energy use than the Environmental Protection Agency’s baseline for high schools in this area.
The Sandy High School designers, Dull Olson Weekes Architects, have provided us with the following information:
•The City of Sandy requires new construction to conform to the ‘Sandy Style,’ a local standard developed to enhance and protect the community image. The standard is meant to celebrate Sandy as the Gateway to Mount Hood by adapting elements of Cascadian architecture popular between 1915-1940. A commonly cited precedent is the nearby Timberline Lodge.
•Sandy High School achieved a contemporary yet regional synthesis using heavy timber cedar frames and unpainted cedar board siding coupled with pitched roofs and asymmetrical massing; exceeding both city and District expectations.
•Cost effectiveness is always a consideration when designing a public building, however, long term operational and maintenance costs are often the largest burden that public school districts face once their capital construction bond is spent. As a result, much attention was placed on selecting materials that would last the minimum 75-year life of the building, patina over time and not tire, and require few resources to maintain. Brick, precast concrete, and cedar left to gray naturally were selected.
With such a large building, 310,000 gross square feet, these cost issues were magnified by the scale and quantity of material needed. The first-time cost effectiveness of the cedar siding was a real budget saver. The favorable natural weathering of the cedar proved to be a recognizable aesthetic element used to meet the city requirements and a benefit for the long term maintenance issues. Avoiding the high embodied and recurring energies of paint and coatings was an additional sustainability feature.