Stephen Epler Hall

Designers: Mithun Architects, Atlas Landscape Architecture | City: Portland, OR | Project Type: architecture, LEED, stormwater management
Date Visited: 12.12.12

Locations: SW Park Ave from Salmon St to Jackson St
Size: 62,500 sq. ft
Cost: $7.4 million
Completion Date: August 2003


Portland State University (PSU), once a two-year college, has grown to become Oregon’s largest and only urban, public university with nearly 23,000 students. As it expands, PSU endeavors to integrate sustainable solutions into its campus, from the development of LEED-certified buildings to indoor bicycle facilities topped with green roofs. Built in 2003, PSU’s Stephen Epler Hall not only became the first on-campus LEED Silver building, but distinguished itself as Portland’s first mixed-use LEED Certified building as well.

Named in honor of Dr. Stephen E. Epler, the original head and champion of Portland State University, Stephen Epler Hall is a six-story, 62,500 square foot mixed used facility that houses 130 student units, classrooms, and academic office space. Epler was designed with a variety of sustainable site features, most notable of which is the interactive and visible stormwater harvesting system that captures and reuses run off from approximately 12,000 square feet of roof surface.

From the project description:

“One of the goals of Epler was to make stormwater management interesting and engaging for the public. As a result, the system was designed to be visible and interactive. The “show” starts when it begins to rain. Rain falling on the roof is directed to several river-rock “splash boxes” in the public plaza. From there, water travels through channels between the brick pavers in the plaza to several planter boxes. The water is filtered as it passes through the planters before entering a large underground storage tank. The water from this tank is then treated with UV light before returning to the surface for use in the public toilets and irrigation. Epler’s stormwater harvesting system was awarded a $15,000 Emerging Technology Grant from the City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development’s G/Rated Program. It reduces the building’s need for municipally-treated potable water by approximately 110,000 gallons annually, saving PSU roughly $1,000 each year.”

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