First Tech Federal Credit Union’s motto is “People First” and their new Oregon campus is designed to support and promote the health, comfort, and happiness of their employees. Each design choice – from the cross laminated timber (CLT) structural system and the vast windows, down to the material details and finishes – aims to blur the line between inside and out, bridging a connection between people and nature.
Designed by Hacker Architects
Photographed by Jeremy Bittermann
Viewed from a distance, the building nearly disappears into the landscape; the mirrored façade reflects the sky, trees, and creek, and the randomized pattern of the exterior paneling helps to minimize the visual size of the building. The boomerang-shaped building footprint creates an embraced courtyard that allows work and leisure spaces to spill outside. The site’s naturally sloped topography continues into the first and second floor, expressed through shallow terraces in the communal dining area and culminating in an amphitheater-style all hands space that expands into a double height atrium.
Much of the building’s design draws on the beauty of wood and the CLT structural system. The elegant timber frame is visible
throughout the building, complemented by a warm, natural material palette. The glulam beams frame floor-to-ceiling views to the park and the creek that surrounds three sides of the site. Raised access floors conceal HVAC, electrical, and low-voltage systems, contributing to clear, uncluttered spaces that showcase the simple beauty of the CLT.
The open office system is designed with emphasis on equitable access to natural light and views, with work stations on each floor arranged to ensure that all employees can benefit from biophilic opportunities, and that there are no “bad” work stations. Additional program elements include: a distinctive central commons with stadium-style seating, capable of accommodating large gatherings and presentations; a kitchen and lunch room adjacent to the courtyard; a coffee bar, which is operated and staffed by students through a partnership with the local school district; a game room; training rooms; private huddle rooms; and flexible collaboration spaces with retractable walls allowing teams and work groups to define their own spaces as needed.
The building achieved LEED Gold certification and meets 2030 Challenge compliance based on modeling. A post-occupancy survey is in process and the first year of operational energy use data will be collected to verify compliance. An exemplary score was awarded in the LEED regional materials category as all the columns, beams, and CLT were sourced and refined within 500 miles of the site. Upon completion and as of this writing, First Tech is the largest glulam and CLT building completed in the U.S.