Kalapuya Ilihi [draft]

Architects: Mahlum Architects Inc.
Date: 2017


Kalapuya Ilihi residence hall opened in fall 2017.  It is named in honor of the Kalapuya, the indigenous people of the Willamette Valley, Oregon.


The building is adjacent to the Many Nations Longhouse and features art by Native American artists from the region. The residence hall provides 531 new student beds, targeting primarily freshman and sophomore students. Mahlum’s design integrates the idea of being good neighbors on all sides, To the north, the Many Nations Longhouse required unobstructed solar access on the winter solstice to their ‘Expression Place’ in order to respect the cultural traditions and ceremonies. To the east and west, the project needed to respond to both the Moss Street Children’s Center and the Vivian Olum Child Development Center, responding to issues of safety, scale, and access between the two facilities. To the south, the building’s size, scale, and street plantings provide a street response that meets both City and University goals for promotion of green streets and open space. A formal street entry is also located along the south side of the building to ensure the building greets the residential neighborhood to the South and East. The Academic Learning Community (ALC) consists of three residential communities with upper-level common use spaces supported by a ground-level academic core. Classes and departmental functions occur in a lecture hall, seminar room, offices, and study spaces. These spaces are coupled with contemporary learning environments, including a flexible open lounge, a maker-hacker space and an open-hearth kitchen. Combined together, they create a 10,000 SF ground-level learning commons supporting the residential communities above. Kalapuya Ilihi opened in fall 2017. It features a maker-hacker space, study rooms, a large collaboration space, gender inclusive bathrooms, and a community kitchen. This building provides opportunities for students and faculty to come together and collaborate through community spaces and event facilities. 

The university worked closely with representatives of the tribal community and nationally known architect and UO alumnus Johnpaul Jones, who designed the Many Nations Longhouse, in ensuring the site is compatible with cultural traditions and tribal ceremonies. Jones will continue to be engaged as a consultant through the design phase of the project.

The project will require the removal of what is known as the old church warehouse building and four older houses, some of which have been used as rentals. A residence hall is a permitted use under relevant city and campus plans.

Also, some parking spaces will be displaced by the project, but a similar number will be added nearby.

The residence hall siting decision, along with two other recently approved building locations, followed a four-month campus review process that included consideration by a special 13-member advisory group to the UO Campus Physical Framework Vision Project, the UO Space Advisory Group, and the Campus Planning Committee.


"Closer to the Kalapuya," Oregon Quarterly (Winter 2018): 22-25.Web.

"East Campus Site Approved for New, 500-bed Residence Hall," Around the O,  December 17, 2014. Web.

"Kalapuyan Peoples." Oregon Encyclopedia,

"Kalapuya Ilihi Virtual Tour." YouTube, Published by UO Housing,

"New Residence Hall Will Strengthen Ties to Academic Life," Around the O, April 7, 2017. Web.

Page author: Edward H. Teague