Senior Clark Honors College and architecture students Danae Burck and Zach Sherrod sit on the Chapman Hall Renovation Advisory Council alongside faculty, staff and professional architects. CHC Dean Terry Hunt personally invited both students to sit on the council based on their passion for architecture and strong work ethic.
Architecture is something Burck has wanted to do from a young age. Always interested in the built environment and how people interact with it, she came to the University of Oregon in part because of the nationally ranked sustainable design program in the architecture department.
Sherrod, on the other hand, grew up around computer-aided design programmers and construction contractors, so working in the field of architecture was an obvious path. He remembers looking over his father’s shoulder watching him work on projects, so being an architecture student using the AutoCAD program brings up a lot of memories. He also chose to study architecture at the UO because of its reputation for green design, something that was critical in his decision.
With all the emphasis on sustainable architecture, naturally one of the biggest things that the renovation advisory council took into consideration for the new Chapman Hall was sustainability. The adapted reuse of the building, by keeping the structural “bones” and the exterior building envelope intact, is a huge environmental benefit from the building lifecycle standpoint alone. The approach also contributes to historic preservation, another of the advisory council’s goals.
Burck said the team wanted to make sure the renovation made the best use of the building for its main occupants: students. The work is focused on efficient design to improve function, while also making sure the building retains the same character and feeling of home it had before.
Prior to the renovation, “A lot of the spaces didn’t really work for the types of interactions between students and professors, which the honors college prides itself on,” Burck said.
The honors college and Chapman Hall had a special identity to begin with; the real question is how the council can build on that existing character.
“The nature of honors colleges is so different from other opportunities on campus that the whole purpose behind this renovation was to support what that environment (already) is,” Sherrod said. “Being in the honors college was essential to knowing what the needs of the classroom are and the needs of the social space that supports the interactions in the classroom.”
Both Burck and Sherrod agree that for many honors college students Chapman is a home away from home, and they appreciate the opportunity to represent the voices and needs of current students.
Generational differences, brought about largely by the ubiquitous use of technology, mark the way students use the building today. Burck feels that she and Sherrod are able to offer valuable insight, like not needing computer labs because most students have laptops. More lounge spaces that allow students to charge their computers and work in groups are a higher priority for space.
As for being a student on the committee, Burck said at first she was intimidated because everyone had such big ideas and opinions. After a while, the team started to look to Sherrod and her for insight.
“As much as other people have other ideas about what they’d like to do, we have a lot of experience inhabiting the space and what students would actually want,” she said.
“As students, Zach and Danae brought an important perspective to the user group meetings, both affirming the traditions of the honors college and challenging the project to consider new opportunities,” said Gregg Sanders, the renovation project manager with Hennebery Eddy Architects. “For example, the renovation included plans to renovate the CHC library. Danae and Zach’s experience as students shaped the character of the space in a way that preserved the tradition of the library as a quiet scholarly place while helping to also reinvent it to serve group learning and nontraditional media.”
After graduating, Burck plans to work at an architecture firm that focuses on public projects like schools, libraries and community spaces. Sherrod is planning to go to graduate school.
—By Brooke Harman, Clark Honors College multimedia communications assistant