Portland State University Viking Pavilion/Stott Center Renovation
For decades, an imposing, windowless athletics building occupied the south end of Portland State University’s central green space, the Park Blocks. For an urban campus with limited real estate, the home of PSU’s Viking Athletics represented a barrier to the student population.
As the University transitioned away from being a commuter campus, students were clamoring for more study and leisure space to accommodate their time on campus. The athletic department needed a legitimate multi-purpose venue and a home for offices and support space. Could an arena renovation serve both athletics and student needs? Our design team, which partnered closely with Woofter Architecture, sought to create a truly transformative campus amenity. The end result not only gives the Vikings an impressive home environment, but simultaneously opens the building to the larger student community.
A centerpiece of the project is the creation of the Viking Pavilion, a premier arena that hosts events ranging from athletic competitions to concerts to commencement. At 3,400 seats, it is both intimate and intense. Using existing concrete walls and a narrow site, the seating bowl rises steeply providing great views and a loud home court advantage.
The northwest US has a long relationship with forestry and stewardship of this great natural resource. The interior design intentionally highlights wood as a unifying and recognizable material. Cladding the upper volume of the arena’s main lobby is an undulating form of reclaimed Douglas fir. Designed to evoke the hull of a Viking ship in honor of the University’s mascot, the wall stretches the entire length of the 200-foot long space and is visible from the Park and campus both day and night.
The student experience is woven throughout the building classrooms and day lit study spaces that are supported by food carts and a café. The open concourses access directly to an exterior terrace providing excellent views of the campus green space. Bordering the green, a stepped seating wall allows additional places to rest, study, and enjoy campus.
Valerie Cleary, Portland State University Director of Athletics