Umpqua Community College sits on a bluff overlooking the North Umpqua River in Oregon’s rural Douglas County. After a tragic incident on campus, Mahlum was asked to engage the community on how to move forward. Through extensive discussions with the college and surrounding communities it was clear that a full replacement of one of the campus buildings was the best outcome for UCC. The replacement building, Tapʰòytʰaʼ Hall (pronounced duh-poi’-tuh), would not be a memorial, but a space of openness and connectivity, not fortification.
To attain that goal, Tapʰòytʰaʼ Hall explores the use of transparency and openness to create feelings of safety – turning on its head the notion that security requires fortification. Classrooms, gathering spaces and faculty areas were designed with clear visual connections to the building’s two main entries, as well as to the greater campus, creating a safe and comfortable learning environment. The new building encourages a sense of calmness, with the play of daylight creating a cozy, inviting atmosphere. The building is literally see-through, with roof and exterior spaces that extend out – blurring the lines between inside and outside, and between personal space and community space.