Completed in July 2006, the Oregon Health & Science University's Peter O. Kohler Pavilion is spectacularly sited above Portland, Oregon, and the Willamette River. The new facility serves to expand OHSU's patient care capacity and acts as a gateway and hub to the existing campus. Connected by an aerial tram to the expanding campus on the waterfront below, the Peter O. Kohler Pavilion is the doorstep to the ninth-floor circulation spine, termed the “ninth-floor superhighway,” that links the major facilities of the upper campus.

Careful and thoughtful attention has gone into maximizing the experience of patients as they navigate the campus via this circulation pathway. Interspersed, well-placed “story walls” tell the story and history of OHSU while light-filled lobbies capitalize on the exciting vistas of the surrounding campus and city.

Project category: Addition (completed July 2006)

Chief administrator: Ali Sadri, Facilities Director, (503) 494-2234

Firms: Petersen Kolberg & Associates, PC, (503) 968-6800; Perkins+Will, (213) 270-8400

Design team: Steve Kolberg, Principal-in-Charge; Jim Knees, Project Architect; Tony Fennig, Project Coordinator; Thane Eddington, Medical Planner (Petersen Kolberg & Associates, PC); Jean Mah, Planning Principal; Nick Seierup, Design Principal (Perkins+Will)

Photography: Pete Eckert

Total building area (sq. ft.): 335,000

Construction cost/sq. ft.: $333

Total construction cost (excluding land): $111,500,000


The unique hillside placement of the tower atop a three-story parking garage and terminus of the OHSU tram posed considerable design challenges. Tucked into the hillside, the base of the building neatly conceals three parking levels for physician and outpatient parking. The 300,000-sq.-ft. building above houses five stories of inpatient care, two stories of outpatient services, and two stories of surgery and support. Terraced rooftop garden courtyards provide respite for patients and provide a dramatic view of the scenery below.

The design team drew upon the varied palette of materials found in the surrounding buildings to create a structure that provides a new identity for OHSU while acknowledging campus surroundings. The stone base anchors the building to the hillside and serves as a pedestal for the elegant glass patient tower above. Altogether, the building serves as a dramatic “front door” and focal point visible from the valley below.