ISTB3 / Jones Studio

© Robert Reck

The ISTB3 (Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building III) is an example of melding together various and diverse departments as one collective unit. Program components include:  Applied Biological Sciences and AZ Bio Institute, Applied Cognitive Sciences Center, and the Healthy Lifestyles Center.

Jones Studio designed interior courtyards and exterior gardens to provide an escape from the harsh summer sun and visual relief from the intense research inside the building, all the while, the building is flooded with natural daylight. Shared break room and other common building functions provide opportunities for informal gatherings amongst the different researchers in the building. The offices are purposely placed across the building from the lab areas to further promote impromptu chats.  This project received the USGBC LEED Gold certification.

More photographs and drawings following the break.

Architects: Jones Studio
Location/Address: ASU Polytechnic, Mesa, , USA
JSI Team: Eddie Jones, Lead Designer, Neal Jones, Principal-In-Charge, Jacob Benyi, Project Manager, Aaron Forbes, Job Captain, Rob Viergutz, Job Captain
Contractor/CMAR: Hardison/ Downey Construction
Lab Consultant: RFD
Structural: rudow + berry, Inc.
M&P: Kunka Engineering, Inc.
Electrical: Woodward Engineering
Landscape: Chris Winters & Associates
Specifications: Litter Associates
Green Design: Green Ideas
Cost: CCMC
Client: Arizona State University
Project Area: 34,894 sqf
Project Year: 2005
Photographs: Robert Reck

© Robert Reck

For centuries, the Sonoran Desert has inspired a vernacular architecture rooted in protection from extreme temperatures. Employing strategies through building mass and orientation, the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building III (ISTBIII) begins to respond to this environment. A second source of inspiration comes from the desert region surrounding Mexico City, the “Jardines Entremurus.” Classified by its introverted posture to its surrounding context, high walls and structures guard the perimeter while tranquil meditative gardens thrive within the structure. Enhancing its character over time, the building’s lush courtyards will send leaves and vines through its penetrations and over the parapets, beyond its guarded outer walls.

© Robert Reck

The Arizona State University Polytechnic campus occupies the former Williams Air Force base at the eastern fringe of the Phoenix metropolitan area. ASU’s desire to attract the best, cutting-edge scientists requires a facility that can respond to a wide range of research demands that grow wider as technology expands. The site represented a number of challenges that needed to be addressed. Like all University campuses, a new building wants to integrate into the campus master plan while reacting to its current physical condition isolated within the network of barren lots spotted by repetitive post war military structures.

site plan

The architects returned to the historical Mexican diagram to create an introverted and secure research laboratory with interior courtyards. The walled gardens create a transitional entry sequence and an organizational element for interior space. The environmental qualities of the laboratories are enhanced by the landscaped foreground views; controlled daylight filtered through architectural shading devices and natural tree canopies. The proximity of nature to the workspaces assures each scientist beautiful garden views and opportunities for intellectual encounters with fellow researchers.

© Robert Reck

ISTBIII strives to provide an atmosphere that both inspires and facilitates a healthy working and learning environment. Utilizing unconventional laboratory planning and organizational strategies, the building promotes intellectual interaction between its occupants along with a reconnection with the natural environment. With four separate, yet similar research departments occupying the building, the programmatic layout and circulation system encourage cross-disciplinary interaction with potentially tangential research possibilities.


ISTBIII is the first non-academic research building to be built at Arizona State University Polytechnic campus. This is an important building block as the Polytechnic campus continues to develop into a genuine university community for the East Valley. With tremendous growth transforming the Valley over the past decade and significant development yet to come, it is everyone’s responsibility to try and provide a product that can respect the finite amount of resources available to use, and also consume as little energy as possible over its lifespan. Arizona State University has mandated that all of its new construction achieve a minimum LEED Silver certification. ISTB III is the first project at to involve the LEED process. The project team was asked that the building achieve a minimum certification of Silver. We are proud to report that the team’s efforts have merited an application for a Gold certification.

© Robert Reck

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "ISTB3 / Jones Studio" 17 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
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