Measuring Collaborative Research and Building Performance

Tim Evans, SRG Partnership

The Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Research Building was completed in September 2018, concluding a fascinating design and construction process and beginning a process of 650 researchers and staff taking occupancy and exploring its features. Tracking LEED Platinum certification and an ambitious Energy Use Intensity of 100 kBTU/SF to achieve the Architecture 2030 Challenge, the project also completed a Healthy Materials Initiative focused on the indoor environment. Since the completion of the $1 billion Knight Cancer Challenge initiated by Nike co-founder Phil Knight and his wife Penny, the Knight Cancer Research Institute has been in the process of recruiting approximately 350 more researchers and clinicians. Naturally, competition for the best and brightest talent is fierce, and thus an attractive and well-designed work environment is a key success factor for recruitment and retention.

The primary goal for the Knight Cancer Research Building was to promote 'Team Science,' wherein interdisciplinary teams collaboratively investigate the early detection of cancers. A creative programming process took a deep dive into exploring the cultural attributes of the Knight research community and their preferences. The design team considered varied workplace styles and generational differences while recognizing the dual phenomena of collaborative work and social interaction occurring in research communities. The results of this analysis directly influenced the architectural design of the project.

Now that the building is operable and occupied, these questions remain: How do we know if we've succeeded in meeting our goals? How do we measure 'Team Science'? And are the sustainable strategies incorporated in the project benefiting building and occupant performance? Together the design team and client created a multi-faceted post-occupancy analysis that looks at both physical and behavioral factors relevant to supporting collaborative work and achieving its ambitious sustainability goals. This presentation will explore the project vision, information-gathering process, design strategies, and results of an intensive post-occupancy study yielding a comprehensive examination of building performance.

Learning Objectives

  • better understand the sociological factors affecting research building programming and design;
  • discover cultural attributes of 'Team Science' and corresponding design strategies;
  • gain insight through the results and lessons learned of intensive pre-occupancy and post-occupancy analyses; and
  • expand the range of post-occupancy analysis topics.


Tim Evans is lab design Principal with SRG Partnership, an award-winning architectural practice with offices in Portland and Seattle. Tim specializes in the planning and design of research laboratories for a wide variety of public- and private-sector clients. He is a board member of the Emerald Chapter of I2SL based in Seattle and has been involved with I2SL for more than 20 years.


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