published in sb magazine 5/2021
The Hidden Creek Community Center is the social, recreational and cultural hub of Hillsboro – a growing suburban city and home to high-tech industry located west of Portland, Oregon, USA. Development of the community center and 80,937 m² park with second-growth forest completes the vision of a recreation and athletics campus that complements the adjacent sports complex. Opsis Architecture envisioned the facility as a retreat and extension of the natural park setting that strives to intensify the site experience.
Courtyards for gathering and recreation are combined with visual and physical connections to the park and forest. The cruciform plan orients the community spaces to open up to the park, with recreation spaces and an outdoor futsal court engaging with the woodlands. The future aquatic addition will extend from the locker rooms and contain an 8-lane 22.86-m lap pool and 557 m² recreation pool. The potential to rent the community wing independently from the recreation wing was realized with a sliding metal screen wall – recalling the west sunscreen – that can be extended to separate the wings for enhanced rental and revenue capability.
Diversity through inclusion and accessibility
The Hidden Creek Community Center carefully considered the various aspects of universal design to create a welcoming and inclusive environment that is inviting, safe and comfortable for all the various ethnic groups and individual identities that comprise Hillsboro – the most diverse community in Oregon. Cultural imprint gallery walls, multilingual wayfinding graphics, material warmth and openness with acoustic attenuation were fully integrated to create a facility that welcomes all ages, abilities and ethnicities.
The warmth of the wood structure and finishes reinforces a biophilic design that blurs the line between inside and out, blending the facility harmoniously into the forest backdrop. The exterior skin comprising custom profiled metal panels recall the color and texture of tree bark peeled back to expose the inner layer and warmth of the spruce cross-laminated timber (CLT).
Innovative and sustainable green design
The site-specific response with innovative prefabricated construction systems were key design generators. Insulated tilt-up concrete walls in combination with CLT panels reduced the construction time by several months. This carbon sequestering construction avoided 1,380 metric tons of CO₂ while improving occupant health and well-being. Multiple strategies were employed to conserve energy, water and natural resources with the overall energy use 30 % less than a comparable project type. This included a 95.9 KW (DC) photovoltaic system with a bifacial photovoltaic canopy on the community room that generates energy and offers shade and rain protection.