No. 424 . 22 April 2009 
ArchitectureWeek
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ASU Polytechnic Green

by Susan Smith

The new academic complex on the Polytechnic campus of Arizona State University (ASU) was built to withstand the insistent, erosive forces of the desert around Mesa, Arizona.

"Being out on the eastern part of the valley, the site is very exposed and gets hit very hard with wind and rain," says Beau Dromiack, design leader for RSP Architects, the architect of record for the project. "It requires a durable architecture which we call 'desert tough.'"

The design team, including RSP, design architect Lake/Flato Architects, and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, was also charged with forging an identity that would unify the structures within the campus context. The team had a 22-month design and construction schedule and a budget of $104 million to work with.

And they had to do it sustainably. The ASU goal for the project was a LEED Silver certification, but "our actual LEED points are at Gold level," Dromiack reports. Certification is currently pending.

Screening the Desert Sun

Located in the core of ASU's Polytechnic campus, the new academic complex provides 245,000 square feet (22,800 square meters) of space for science, agribusiness, education, and humanities programs, with functions ranging from a black box theater to a hazmat facility. The classrooms, labs, studios, offices, and gathering spaces are arranged around three courtyards, in a dense, pedestrian-oriented configuration.   >>>

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