For one hundred years Strand Agriculture Hall served Oregon State University as its home for the College of Agricultural Science. Despite its visible and desirable location as the only campus building to front both the East and West Quads, decades of infill projects and poorly conceived modifications had left the historic classroom building dark and outdated, with little appeal and a lack of social spaces. Hennebery Eddy Architects helped Oregon State University transform the historic, 116,000-square foot building into a 21st Century learning and socially interactive environment, while retaining the original character and integrity of the historic building.
Like many early 20th Century buildings, Strand Ag Hall made no provisions for the physically disabled. This was most evident at the six entrances, none of which were accessible and each with two sets of steps, one exterior and one interior, rising a total of 4'-0" to the first floor level. Hennebery Eddy incorporated a series of transformative ADA/Universal Access solutions, including sloped exterior sidewalks that became primary pathways for all building users, and interior hearths that merge accessible ramps, gathering areas and art into some of the most desirable social spaces on campus. The new ADA/Universal Accessibility measures have become the template for OSU's approach to accessible design for their historic buildings, allowing fully integrated access in a manner that respects and even enhances the historic campus context.
The rehabilitation also included a new entrance portico and terrace on the west elevation, providing a high-profile entrance and heightened identity fronting the Memorial Quad; a full seismic upgrade of the URM structure; and all new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. The portico's design is derived from the materials and details surrounding the building’s original entrances, and is compatible with the context of the University’s Historic District. Many historic character-defining features were restored, including three original open stairs and the high ceilings throughout the building. After Hennebery Eddy assessed the condition of the building's 452 original wood windows, OSU chose to restore them. The windows are once again an integral part of the building's passive cooling and fresh air strategy, and in tandem with the added mass of new concrete shear walls and ceiling fans, embrace the energy efficient way the building was originally cooled.
Strand Agriculture Hall is a contributing structure located within the Oregon State University Historic District. The successful rehabilitation has heightened the building's presence on campus while also enhancing the OSU Historic District's integrity. It has become an active and thriving environment for learning and socializing that is sought out by students, faculty, and staff who are very proud to be part of the agricultural legacy embodied within the building.