Lever Architecture’s renovation of the Oregon Conservation Center embodies the mission of this environmental non-profit.

For the renovation and expansion of The Nature Conservancy’s Oregon headquarters, local studio Lever Architecture transformed a grim 1970s office building into a collaborative hub. The exterior is clad with steel that will weather over time, as well as juniper siding and cedar decking, both of which were sustainably harvested from the group’s own conservation sites. In just such ways, the design integrates materials and plantings specific to the organization's highest priority projects, evoking regional habitats and connecting occupants to nature. Inside, the dim, siloed office layouts were replaced with more contemporary design elements, including open-plan layouts, meeting rooms of varying sizes, a staff café, daylight-soaked interiors and storage space for field equipment.

At the core of the renovation is a new building addition which accommodates a community room, roof garden and terrace that provide gathering space for events. This structure is one of the first in the US made from domestically-fabricated, FSC-certified Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). To achieve LEED Gold certification, a blend of high-tech and common sense solutions introduced a new rooftop photovoltaic system that generates a quarter of the headquarters' electrical supply, as well as efficient building systems and fixtures that reduce electricity consumption by 54 per cent and water consumption by 44 per cent. Pragmatic solutions, including bringing in ample daylight through tall window openings, installing operable windows, and using local materials, enhance comfort and further connect the Center to the neighbourhood.

This project is featured in our new release Where We Work: Design Lessons from the Modern Office. Get your copy here.