Historic Hayward Field has been a central part of the University of Oregon’s history since its founding in 1919, when it was named after UO athlete and coach Bill Hayward. The East Grandstands were completed in 1925 and Olympic tryouts were first held there in 1944. The NCAA championships were first hosted there in 1962, to be followed over the years by numerous national and international track and field meets. The 1970s saw some of the legendary events at Hayward, including the feats of Steve Prefontaine. In 1975 the West Grandstand was completed. Renovations were made in 1988, which included enlarging the track, and the Bowerman Family Building was completed in 1992.
Hayward Field is also central to the origins of Nike. Legendary UO athlete and coach Bill Bowerman invented the modern running shoe while coaching the UO track and field team. Phil Knight was the first UO student athlete to try the shoes, in 1958, and later co-founded Blue Ribbon Sports with Bowerman in 1964, which officially became Nike in 1971.
As Vin Lananna, UO’s Associate Athletic Director noted, "Hayward Field is unparalleled in importance to the sport of track and field and the entire state of Oregon. Recognized everywhere for inspiring world-class performances, this special stadium is also the dream destination for boys and girls just beginning in the sport, high school and collegiate athletes at the pinnacle of their career and the casual runner motivated to improve fitness.”
As significant as Hayward Field is to track and field, the timber industry is at least as central to the history of the state of Oregon and the founding of the University of Oregon. While the timber industry faced a serious decline in the 1970s, recently, with the development of new advanced engineered wood products, including cross-laminated timber and mass plywood panels, Oregon is poised to once again lead the United States in timber manufacturing and design. It seems fitting that the new, expanded West Grandstands at Hayward Field should be constructed of mass timber, as a showcase for the potential of these new materials. With its structure of mass timber, the West Grandstand has the potential to become iconic, with international recognition, in both the worlds of sports and design.
This studio took on the challenge of designing large cantilevers in timber. With studio instructor UO Department of Architecture Professor Judith Sheine, four teams of students worked on widely varied designs. The studio was given significant and critical consulting by California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Department of Civil Engineering Professor Mikhail Gershfeld and his Advanced Timber Design class. Gershfeld visited the studio in person six times, with an additional virtual meeting; His engineering students worked in four teams collaboratively with the architecture students through virtual communication.
The studio took the new plans for the West Grandstand that UO had developed with SRG Partnership as its starting point. Those plans include incorporating indoor training facilities and the Physiology Department, currently in the Bowerman Family Building, under the grandstand seating. Rather than focusing on the program, the studio accepted the plans as developed and focused on the design of the canopy over the west grandstand seating. The term began with case studies of recent timber grandstands and stadia, which gave the students some ideas about the range of possible design solutions. After a week or so of experimentation, four projects emerged: three cantilevers and one very large arch. The studio received generous support from Jim and Diane Hallstrom, a family long involved in timber manufacturing in Oregon.