Shattuck Hall Ecological Learning Plaza

October 23, 2013

While a graduate student at Portland State University I was involved in a myriad of building research and analyses. The most significant research project is the Shattuck Hall Ecological Learning Plaza (SHELP). The plaza is an abandoned site adjacent to Shattuck Hall on PSU's campus. Several years ago the School of Architecture requested to attain the site for student research and architectural exploration. Once the site was under supervision of the School of Architecture, students and faculty started brainstorming uses and proposing grants. A group of students called COSIE, Coalition of Students Interested in Eco-districts, successfully acquired a grant to develop the site as an Ecological Learning Plaza. The first grant was quickly followed by funds from Metro. Around the time the funds were awarded, I was in my first year of graduate school and an intern at SRG Partnership.

SRG has a strong connection to Portland State University School of Architecture and a deep interest in emerging research in sustainability of the built environment. At the time of my internship, SRG was proposing buildings with complex sloped green roof systems and looked to me to provide research. Through this experience, it became clear that there was enormous potential to incorporate professional research interests into the development of SHELP. Therefore, several of my PSU peers and I agreed to design and build two sloped green roof mock-ups with the intention to explore aesthetic, environmental and performance potential. Each mock-up has a specific objective and design criteria. The first installation is located in the Shattuck Hall Ecological Learning Plaza and the second is located at the main public entrance of the Oregon Zoo.

The exhibit located at PSU is fully equipped with monitoring equipment, property of the Green Building Research Lab. This installation is testing a variety of green roof substrates, drainage systems, soil depths and plant varieties. My colleagues and I believe that the success of public eco-roof exhibitions will inform the future development of green roofs in the city of Portland.

Since the project's commencement I have graduated and now work at SRG Partnership. My current position fully supports continued research around the green roof installations and the development of SHELP. I am currently writing reports on our findings and plan to share this knowledge with the University and the building industry in Portland.