COPRI Project Excellence Award – Oregon State University, Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building

The Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute (COPRI) Governing Board initiated the Project Excellence Award in 2008 to provide a platform to highlight outstanding projects. This award is designed to acknowledge projects that exhibit exceptional design or construction in coastal, oceans, ports and harbors, or rivers related areas. The award-winning projects are recognized for their design excellence and innovation.

The Project Excellence Award acknowledges significant accomplishments in the following areas: concepts in design or construction; application of new or existing analytical techniques or technology; adaptive reuse of existing features or infrastructure; and innovative methods that minimize environmental impacts. Read more about the award on the ACEC webpage:

The 2023 COPRI Large Project Excellence Award was awarded to The Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building at Oregon State University in Newport, Oregon

In 2016, the Oregon State University (OSU) president, as part of the Marine Studies Initiative Program, announced they were bringing on a team to design a groundbreaking research facility to withstand a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami. The proposed facility, now named the Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building, would be part of the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. The Hatfield Marine Science Center aims to increase the region’s capacity for marine-related education, research, outreach, and engagement. The location was chosen to provide “access to the sea” and this structure will provide increased laboratory capacity and a place for students and faculty to collaborate on addressing key issues involving the coast, the ocean, and ocean literacy. The need for this research facility to be located at the Hatfield campus on the coast challenged the design team to provide a structure that could be feasibly built within a tsunami inundation zone. Considering the geological risks inherent at the site, OSU established an aggressive set of design goals that included engineering the facility to withstand a magnitude 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and the corresponding tsunami. The building was also planned as a vertical evacuation refuge for mobility-challenged occupants in lieu of the established horizontal evacuation route utilized as part of the City of Newport’s emergency preparedness plan. The building was constructed in June 2020 and is one of the few structures designed for tsunami risks and the first at the time to use the recently adopted Tsunami Provisions contained in the ASCE Standard 7-16.  

GRI would like to congratulate the project teams who made this project come to life: YGH Architecture, KPFF Consulting Engineers, Andersen Construction Company, JAFEC USA, University of Washington (UW), the External Peer Review Team, and Oregon State University!

The OSU – Gladys Valley Marine Studies Building was also awarded the ACEC Oregon Project of the Year and a Grand Award at ACEC National in 2022. To learn more about this award watch our video from the ACEC Project of the Year GRI blog Post here: