Price Science Library wins AIA award for design excellence

Twilight image of building exterior, Price Science Commons and Research Library.

The American Institute of Architects and the American Library Association have announced that the University of Oregon’s Allan Price Science Commons and Research Library is one of seven projects worldwide to receive the 2017 AIA-ALA Library Building Award.

The awards program was developed to encourage and recognize excellence in the architectural design of libraries, especially as it reflects the evolving role of the library as a community space. It is the only award to recognize entire library structures and all aspects of their design. Among the other 2017 award recipients are the New York Public Library, Boston Public Library and the National Library of Latvia.

“All of us in the UO Libraries congratulate the architects, designers and others who participated on this award-winning team,” said Adriene Lim, dean of libraries and Philip H. Knight Chair. “We’re proud to have been part of this exciting project, one that heavily incorporated the input of people in the UO science community.”

The Price Science Commons was designed by Opsis Architecture of Portland. Principle architect Jim Kalvelage '81 noted that his team was inspired by school ties and a collaborative spirit.

“The Opsis design team, comprised of UO alumni, shared a deep passion and commitment to deliver a noteworthy project that would make an enduring contribution to the vibrancy of the UO campus,” he said. “We are honored to receive national recognition for this transformative project that has become a front door to the Lokey Science Complex. It’s a testimony of our valued collaboration with the library staff, as well as university planning and facilities staff whose high aspirations inspired us to realize the inherent possibilities of this project.”

Over the years, the need for the project had become increasingly apparent. With a 72 percent surge in the number of UO science majors since 2000, the science library had undergone just one significant update in its 45-year life — two decades ago.

“Oregon was terribly behind in the condition of the former science library,” noted philanthropist Lorry I. Lokey, whose $8 million gift in honor of former UO vice president Allan Price kick-started the renovation project. “Now we’re ahead of the world. It is a gorgeous testimony not only to Allan, but to the growth of the University of Oregon.”

The science library renovation and expansion was built by Anderson Construction. In 2014, the Oregon Legislature put the project on a fast track with approval of $8.375 million in general obligation bonds.

In addition to Lorry Lokey, other major donors who supported the project include Marcia L. Aaron, Patricia and John Bentley, Barbara Reed Cargill, Leona DeArmond, Rosaria Haugland, Jill and Phillip Lighty, Nancy and David Petrone, Darcy and Hank Tarbell, Julie and Keith Thomson, Ann and Tommy Thompson, and Lisa and Jon Stine.

The Price Science Commons and Research Library is part of the seven-branch UO Libraries system, which is the state’s largest research library. It is open 8 a.m.-11 p.m. during academic terms. To arrange a tour, contact Lara Nesselroad at 541-346-2664 or lnessel@uoregon.edu.

—Jason Stone, Library Communications