Ford Alumni Center
Nine towering panels filled with interactive media and artifacts reveal the past, present, and possibilities of the University of Oregon experience.
Staircases angle through the vaulted atrium of the Ford Alumni Center and flow into the Interpretive Center where Ducks connect, where visitors are welcomed, and prospective students congregate before their campus tours. This 2,000-square-foot light-drenched space is filled with six interactive media Cascades and three artifact-filled Cascades. The stories and objects they feature preserve the legacy of the alumni who defined the University while the dynamic database that fuels them serves media and information to recruit new generations of Oregon alumni.
The media Cascades are touch-sensitive floor-to-ceiling displays that present movies, images, slide shows, text, infographics and maps reflecting the university as a whole. Like the sections of a bookstore, each Cascade is devoted to a different subject matter: LEARN (Academics), COMPETE (Athletics), LIVE (Student Life), EXPLORE (Campus and Community), and HONOR (Notable Ducks). The media was designed to flow through the Cascades like a waterfall of content, introducing the diversity of opportunities—academic, athletic, social, recreational—that define the University of Oregon experience. Visitors can simply stand and watch to see all the university has to offer, while more active visitors could swipe across the Cascade to navigate through stories, touch to dig deeper into specific areas, or access menus to go directly to the information they seek.
Through a powerful, custom content management system, stakeholders across the university can log onto an intranet and modify their respective content areas. They can select between dozens of templates, upload and crop images, add videos, create slide shows, and add whole sections to their themes.
In addition to the storytelling features, media Cascades have a dynamic 3D campus mapping feature that pulls from the university’s information services database. New buildings can be added dynamically, and each story component in the program can link directly to a feature on the map. Dozens of dynamic infographics sprinkled through the content also pull on university databases to serve the most current data about the student body, alumni, or programs.
The three artifact Cascades are filled with an eclectic assortment of objects that testify to the enduring values of the University and offer a visual alternative to the surrounding media cascades. Inventions, designs, and achievements of alumni are celebrated. Defining events in the history of the university are featured. Original and facsimile documents, photographs, manuscripts, ephemera, and other objects are displayed like “wonder cabinets” juxtaposing diverse themes, values, and defining moments in UO’s history.
Evoking Eugene’s nickname “Track Town, USA,” the Cascade panels slide on a track system built into the floors and ceilings running throughout the Interpretive Center. The Interpretive Center staff can slide the panels anywhere on the tracks, making the space adaptable for different events and reconfigurable for learned usage patterns. This flexible set of configurations reflects the University’s forward movement and celebrates the spirit of possibility and change at UO. In one configuration, three Cascades can be merged to form one large display, and the on-screen content can be easily customized for special events.
The nine Cascades have illuminated rear panels with translucent environmental graphics. Each subtly different in color and tone, they collectively read as a kind of glowing forest within the Center, inviting the outside world to enter the new front door to Oregon’s pioneering university.
Press & Awards“Motion Graphics and Shareable Media: Motion and Interactivity,” The Fundamentals of Interactive Design, Michael Salmond & Gavin Ambrose, April 2013
A series of media installations create an engaging and inspiring entrance way at the University of Oregon, US. Looking to engage the audience with an immersive experience, Second Story created a dynamic series of touch screens, video walls and LED walls that display a variety of rich media.Your Best Work: Design Awards & Competition, HOW, Winner, March 2013“Getting to Know Your Users,” Interactive Design: An Introduction to the Theory and Application of User-Centered Design, Andy Pratt & Jason Nunes, October 2012
Unlike many university alumni centers, the Ford Alumni Center is equally focused on the future as it is the past. They aimed to create a place that simultaneously honored the history of the student body and attracted the next generation of graduates. To accomplish this goal, the Portland-based interactive firm utilized the architecture of the space to create an interactive experience that is anything but ordinary.“Exhibit Feature: University of Oregon Alumni Center,” Communication Arts, May 2012
At the heart of the design solution was the concept of the university as bedrock and the students as an unending flow of water. The suite of interactives was inspired by this metaphor, and prospective students receive a stream of information that fosters a sense of possibility, while simultaneously honoring the legacy of alumni.FITC Awards, Future. Innovation. Technology. Creativity., FINALIST: Installations, Visual Design, April 2012
The FITC Awards honours the best of the best in the new media industry and is a celebration of epic proportions.2012 Digital Signage Expo Content Awards, Content Award of the Year, March 2012
Second Story Interactive Studios took home the first DSE Content Award of the Year for content created for University of Oregon Ford Alumni Center.2012 Digital Signage Expo Content Awards, Gold Education & Healthcare Award, March 2012
The annual Digital Signage Expo Content Awards honor innovative and compelling content created for digital signage and digital out-of-home networks.“UO's Ford Alumni Center Celebrates Past and Cultivates Future via Digital Media,” Digital Signage Connection, March 2012
From a distance, the “Oregon Cascades” create a montage of images that a passive viewer can appreciate, while up close, the more adventurous user can navigate through stories containing movies, images, infographics and maps reflecting the university as a whole.2012 IxDA Interaction Awards, Winner, “Engaging” category, February 2012
The projects, ranging from applications and games to instrument panels and installations, were picked from over 300 entries from 33 countries, for their excellence in interaction design.“Interactive Center,” American School and University, December 2011
The facility is designed to welcome everyone: it features accessible parking and a staffed information desk. Six 14-foot-high panels with touch-sensitive displays inform and inspire visitors with more than 1,000 stories told through words, images and video. These stories are updated constantly, and the entire system is integrated with a dynamic 3-D mapping feature that can be changed as the university grows and evolves.“New UO Visitor Center,” Northwest Travel Magazine, December 2011
Using large touch-screens, visitors can explore the 2,000-square-foot interpretive center. The multimedia installation celebrates Oregon heritage, informs visitors about the university, and builds connections with future alumni.“What’s New,” Via Magazine, November 2011
The University of Oregon’s Ford Alumni Center in Eugene explores the school’s legacy and future with artifacts and interactive displays, such as a searchable touch table with details on former students.“University Extends Warm Welcome,” SkyWest Magazine, October 2011
No matter when or why you’re in Eugene be sure to stop by the University’s new Cheryl Ramberg Ford and Allyn Ford Alumni Center. The $33.6-million high-tech marvel offers a 2,000-square-foot interpretative center, featuring interactive exhibits that help even first-time visitors connect with the school and its heritage. Six fourteen-foot-high touch-screens present more than 1,000 stories detailing interesting aspects of the university’s past, present and future.“University of Oregon's Ford Alumni Center Uses Interactive Digital Signage and Directory,” Digital Signage Universe, June 2011
Each tower includes touch-sensitive floor-to-ceiling displays highlighting movies, images, slide shows, infographics and maps. Second Story created unique content for each media columns that focuses on different subject matter that includes academics, athletics, student life, campus and community, and Notable Ducks...“Interactive digital signage goes to the Ducks at UO alumni center,” Digital Signage Today, Christopher Hall, June 2011
Interactive digital signage displays are integrated into nine towering ‘Oregon Cascades’ that display UO stories and information on command; a large interactive multitouch display ‘Alumni Table’ that recognizes every alum in the school’s history; and the ‘Entry Wall’ that displays campus events and recognizes donors to the center's creation.“Welcome Space,” The Register-Guard, Greg Bolt, June 2011
...Among its more innovative features are the interpretive center’s “media cascades,” floor-to-ceiling panels that contain interactive video screens on one side. The six moveable, touch-sensitive panels allow visitors to view maps of campus, learn some UO history, check out university statistics or scan the stories of more than 75 UO alumni. There’s also three “artifact cascades,” panels that instead of moving pictures house physical items from the UO’s history, such as Bill Bowerman’s waffle iron and a manuscript from Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
© 2013 Second Story, Inc.
- Executive Producer
- Julie Beeler
- Creative Director
- Brad Johnson
- Studio Director
- Jen Guibord
- Technology Director
- Thomas Wester
- Exhibition Architects
- Lars Uwe Bleher, Jan Schmelter
- Lead Designer
- Chris Dewan
- Interaction Designer
- Matt Sundstrom
- Visual Designer
- Aaron Walser
- Environmental Graphics
- Meagan Geer
- Preliminary Experience Design
- Christian Bannister, Shoam Thomas
- Lead Systems Developer
- David Brewer
- Digital Media Developer
- Aubrey Francois
- Donny Richardson, Matt Arnold
- Prototyper and Preparator
- Sam Jeibmann
- Integration Engineer
- Matt Arnold
- Heather Daniel
- Media and Content Producer
- David Waingarten
- Writer and Content Producer
- Scott Smith
- Production Coordinators
- Jen Dolan, Elizabeth Bourke
- Quality Assurance
- Jen Dolan
- Production Artist
- Sara Siri, Lisa Kennedy
- Opsis Architecture
- General Contractor
- Fortis Construction
- A/V Systems Integration
- MAD Systems