The work of Associate Professor John Rowell addresses site, climate, program, and human comfort through thoughtful detailing. At the University of Oregon, he leads architectural design studios and teaches courses and seminars in building technology and product design. He also serves on the faculty of the newly initiated program in product design at UO.
As a founding principal of the Eugene firm Rowell Brokaw Architects, Rowell oversees projects from planning through construction. Representative of his recent work is a memorial courtyard for Pietro Belluschi's 1955 Central Lutheran Church in Eugene. The columbarium is a contemporary reconsideration of the balance between community and individual memory, between homogeneity and unique place-specific details, historically found in churchyard cemeteries. Developed through a collaborative design process, the project received the single honor award in a six-year span from the Southwest Oregon chapter of the AIA.
Working in conjunction with the city's urban renewal agency and the proprietor of a retail storefront, the firm undertook the renovation of a vacant bank building in the center of downtown Eugene for its new office in 2004. The bright yellow metal sunshades that landmark the building's facade derive from a design goal of maximizing energy efficiency; the sunshades block 95 percent of direct sun without a reduction of daylighting. Recognized with a merit award from the SWO chapter of the AIA, the project at One East Broadway has contributed to an ongoing revitalization of the street and environs.
Rowell has co-authored a white paper and guidelines on housing for persons with special needs for the State of California. His work in this area includes a series of demonstration projects in California: "Hardened House" for people with aggressive behaviors, "Soft House" for people with self-injurious behaviors, "Structured House" for people with cognitive disorders, and “Crisis House” for people with developmental disabilities in severe crisis. He has also shared his expertise with members of the Governor's Task Force on Long Term Care Housing and Community Supports in Oregon.
Other recent projects completed by the Rowell Brokaw Architects include a wetlands environmental education center; planning and design for a 64-unit mixed-use neighborhood, including a LEED Gold office building; assisted living communities in Oregon, California and Nevada; a transit station; early childhood centers for Head Start; a school addition; planning and programming for the Robert D. Clarke Honors College at the University of Oregon; an interior renovation for Opus6ix Gallery; a remodel of the historic Heceta Lightkeepers House; and numerous private residences. Rowell’s work is also seen throughout the College of Design, from the Materials Resource Center and a multimedia sound studio to studio desks and library furniture.
Before founding the firm with partner Greg Brokaw, Rowell worked with Gary Moye in Eugene, Building Design Partnership in London, England, and Delgatty Architects in Vancouver, British Columbia.