Ombré Blend Uniquely Clads Essential Facility


Norwegian artisan sculpted and smooth dark ironspot combine with medium ironspot #46 smooth, sienna ironspot velour which fires with red cast, and light grey texture velour.


It was the desire of Beaverton OR and its planning commission to have a state-of-the-art facility of timeless and durable materials that would be low maintenance and long-lasting.

Mountainside High School serves a growing population in newly-developing area of Beaverton where the urban growth boundary was extended. The 342,000 sf school on a 47-acre campus is designed to accommodate 2200 students in pursuit of college preparatory courses as well as career and technical education.

As the largest project of the district’s 2014 Bond Program, the expectation was that this investment would remain viable in meeting the needs of a growing and changing population for generations.

Ombré Blend

Project Designer Christopher Almeida explains the role masonry played in delivering on district expectations. Five colors of Endicott brick were used in the custom blends created for the school. Unlike a typical brick blend, however, Bora Architects created four different blends, one for each story in order to create a great deal of visual interest with a simple material palette. Ombré is the gradual blending of color to shift hue and tone to create gradient effect. At ground level, the percentage of dark brick is greatest, while at the fourth story, the percentage of dark brick is smallest, so the effect is the inverse as the eye moves up the building. The shelf angle embedded at the floor slab of each story was the guide for where the blend pattern changes.

Bora used face-cut brick samples to create the initial variegated brick pattern, then algorithms were established in a software program to create blends with correct percentage of each color at each story. A 60′ tall by 12′ wide mockup panel was laid out by distributor Mutual Materials for visual approval before the blends were finalized. Mutual Materials received the Endicott brick at their Spokane facility and did the custom blending and palletizing in-house. Because they are a producer as well as distributor, they had the experienced staff and quality controls in place to be able to anticipate and avert any pitfalls. Each story was blended, palletized, labeled and shipped to the site separately. According to Mutual Materials Sales Representative Mike Baker, the whole key to pulling off the complex veneer efficiently and cost effectively was to make it seamless for the mason.

Ground face CMU is featured in stairways as well as the two-story gymnasium and performing arts spaces. The district wanted to provide physical spaces and resources to academic, training and athletic programs in order for students to have the best access and opportunity possible. CMU for durability, acoustics, safety, low maintenance and high quality finishes played a role in meeting that goal.

Soldier coursing of Norman Mutual Materials glazed and unglazed white veneer brick reflect sunlight throughout spacious trapezoidal courtyard, alcoves and interior glassed commons.

Mountainside Mavericks mascot sculpted from brick.

Safety is a primary focus of school district. Designers are thoughtful about how to achieve a certain level of security, while maintaining a welcoming aesthetic and convenience for users. Situated on a corner, the distinctive school is easy to see, but the main entrance is not street side, mitigating student risk to automobile traffic as well as minimizing entry access points. The large academic facility is all interconnected in a closed loop type of design, focused around a courtyard featuring glazed and unglazed white laid in soldier coursing stack bond. The same white brick adorning the courtyard are carried into the building at the common area and accents the main entrance. The percentage of glazing changes from more to less as it moves up the wall, much like the pattern on street-facing elevations. None of the hallways dead end and window-filled corridors and classrooms improve visibility across and throughout the facility.

Essential Facility

Designed to withstand a magnitude 9 earthquake, parts of the building can be used as a community shelter, should the need arise. Upon a thorough analysis of the potential effects of an earthquake in the Cascadia earthquake zone in 2011, resilience gaps between expected performance of infrastructure sectors based on their current conditions and the desirable performance levels based on the community needs and economic recovery were identified. As a result, Oregon created a Resilience Plan in which most of the building sectors that are critical to the response to a seismic event or other natural disaster are categorized based on their relative importance to life safety in such an event. Occupancy Categories III and IV are structures that have large assembly areas (such as schools), or that are deemed essential to emergency response (such as hospitals, police and fire stations and emergency operations centers). Under current code, occupancy category type III buildings are designed for a 25% higher seismic load than Category I and II buildings. Category IV buildings are designed for a 50% higher load.