Architecture Jacobs Gallery

Symphony-goers attending last night’s concert at the Hult Center were surprised — or at least I was — to find an architectural exhibit in the space formerly known as the Jacobs Gallery, downstairs from the Hult lobby.

“The Mounds at the Hult,” as the exhibit is named, illustrates a design study undertaken as a private pro bono project for the city by University of Oregon architecture professor Philip Speranza.

Basically, he said in a phone call this morning, he was examining the use of that slightly awkward, concrete public space that separates the Hult Center from the Hilton hotel and convention center next door.

“We’re trying to improve the quality of the space,” he said — especially the recessed area right outside the door leading into The Studio. I called it a “hole.” More diplomatically, Speranza said, “It has issues.”

His design study now on view in the former Jacobs space is beautiful and intriguing and just a bit opaque to those of us not versed in the jargon of architecture.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Mounds at the Hult is an urban design study using new technology during the design process and interaction design for the built project to connect people in public space around Downtown Eugene Arts and Culture. The exhibit features participatory design work and iterative design studies. The work displayed in the exhibit intends to make public the design process and encourage participation through visitors reacting to design ideas, relocating cultural activities in the plaza and proposing new activities. Drawings, analytical diagrams, stakeholder quotes and design renderings are intended to best begin the design process for a space that supports evening movies, sitting, eating, playing, meeting, resting and other activities Downtown.

I like, though, that the city is looking at improving the downtown experience — and I like that the gallery formerly known as the Jacobs has another visual exhibit in it, even though it doesn’t seem to have been widely publicized.

The Mounds at the Hult will be on display through May 19 during Hult box office hours, which are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays, and one hour before Hult performances.