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George Fox University, Canyon Commons

Newberg, OR
  • Bldg system

    Mass Timber

  • No. Of Stories


  • Sq. footage


Canyon Commons simply and elegantly celebrates its site, the values of the University, and the experience of the students it serves. Its location across a natural ravine from the center of campus anchors the campus expansion to the east. It is sited to take advantage of views and minimize site disruption, including tree removal. By concentrating glass on the building’s west side, Canyon Commons reflects and connects with the natural features of the ravine. The wood structure, constructed with Glu-lam beams and posts, alludes to the trees of the ravine and contributes to its humane and warm interior while reducing impact on the environment by sequestering carbon. Views of the ravine were enhanced by high ceilings and extending the glass between the beams to the underside of the roof deck.

A welcoming terrace with a deep sheltering overhang forms the entrance at the south, and together with the east terminus of a new timber bridge spanning the ravine, connects Canyon Commons to the heart of the campus. The exterior of the dining portion of the building, on the west, is largely floor to ceiling glass with gray metal trim. The east, service portion of the building, is clad in natural wood. The entrance gives access immediately to the café with its large welcoming fireplace. Connection to the main dining room passes by three flexible multipurpose rooms that can be combined into one large space for campus functions. The corridor providing circulation throughout the building is a tall narrow space bathed in light by a series of skylights set randomly askew relative to the structure and walls. The whimsical placement of the standard off-the-shelf skylights creates a rich pattern of reflections on the central demising wall that changes throughout the day and season. It is inspired by discussions with the client about the value of the individual within the George Fox community and the world at large. Each light has its own unique and variable impact on the experience of the place. This theme carries through the length of the building and is apparent even from the outside, looking across the ravine through the dining room.

  • Construction Cost:


  • Construction Type:


  • Building Type:

    Assembly (Worship, Restaurant, Theater)

  • Material Types:

    Mass Timber, Glue-Laminated Timber (GLT or glulam)

Companies Involved:
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