Chemeketa Community College Agriculture Complex

Salem, Oregon

How do we create a Net Zero Energy collaborative hub to serve the agricultural communities and industries of Marion, Polk and Yamhill Counties?

FFA partnered with Lango Hansen Landscape Architects to work closely with Chemeketa Community College and its partners from educational extension programs, local businesses and community outreach groups to design a new, highly sustainable Agricultural Complex. The vision for the Complex was guided by the idea of establishing an agricultural hub for this broad community that is a center for teaching and learning in this growing Oregon region.

Anchored at the north edge of the eight-acre site is the new 15,000 square-foot academic building. A light-filled, double-height space acts as the collective center of the building with views out through a large glass wall and an overhead door that opens onto demonstration gardens to the south. The building houses flexible learning and research areas along with working spaces for students, faculty, staff, and partners. The primary structural system features Mass Plywood Panels (MPP) and mass timber from the region.  A covered arcade is designed to protect the building along the south façade with a photovoltaic roof structure that serves double-duty as shelter and to harness energy from the sun to support the building which is on track to achieving Net Zero Energy.

Year Completed:
21,500 sf
Project Contact:
Edward Running, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Partner, Market Lead

2021 IIDA Oregon, People's Choice Award for Design Excellence

2022 DJC Top Secondary and Vocational Training Project

2023 WoodWorks Wood Design Award for Regional Excellence

To reinforce the “collective hub” concept, the Agricultural Complex is defined by a central courtyard amphitheater space that functions in several ways and will contribute to public and educational needs while supporting outdoor group training, industry events, presentations, festivals, community outreach activities, and farmers’ markets.

The Pavilion Building serves multiple functions as a place to process plants, an outdoor academic and community gathering room, a band shell for events in the main plaza, along with storage for tools and equipment.

Main Entry

SUSTAINABILITY  – Passive natural ventilation and active hydronic heating/cooling system

MOVEMENT – Skylights combined with plenums and turbines reduce energy as a passive strategy to produce light and enhance natural ventilation.
The main building features radiant concrete floors throughout.

Head House

Soils Lab


Break-out Space

FUNCTIONAL FLEXIBILITY – Moveable marker-board walls allow for changes and adaptation of needs of the college and community partners.

Site Plan


This central space is defined by the academic building and several outbuildings; greenhouses, a headhouse lab, and an open multi-use outdoor classroom pavilion. These structures will be flanked by a variety of different learning garden zones including a Tree Specimen Meadow, Water-Wise, Shade, Xeric, Upland Natives, and a Botanical Rainwater Garden.  To the south, large agricultural fields will be devoted to various academic and research activities including a Woody Ornamental, Organic Vegetable, Orchard Lab for cultivation research, and a Pollinators’ Garden.

The main building is oriented East-West to harness prevailing North-South winds for passive ventilation provided by automated operable windows and wind-driven roof turbines.  The automated windows enable the collection of cool night air during the summer while flushing out hot air from the day, allowing the building temperature to re-set nightly.   The orientation also capitalizes on solar exposure, enabling the PV arrays on the roofs and covered arcade to generate energy.  External overhangs shade south-facing windows during hot summer months with high-angle sun, while allowing solar exposure during colder winter months with low sun angles.


Building Complex – (Courtesy of Swinerton Builders)

SOLAR CANOPY – Harvesting solar energy while creating a covered arcade and shade protection for the building’s interior

PAVILION – Large overhang protects area dedicated to processing crops and the organic harvest with an outdoor sink and cooler for storage

HUB OF THE COMPLEX –  A large, roll-up glass wall creates visual connections and allows free flow of people, plant materials and equipment.

Pavillion rain garden with the plaza and main academic building in the distance