The design for the ASU Polytechnic Campus transformed a decommissioned airbase into an inviting pedestrian campus that celebrates the desert landscape and created a new identity for the program. Fourteen acres of asphalt and concrete were removed to transform the site into a desert landscaped mall. Storm water is slowed, captured in detention basins throughout the mall, and used to nourish the landscape. The strategy minimized the load on the existing detention basin and established an indigenous landscape as the heart of the new campus.
Architects: Lake|Flato Architects and RSP Architects
Location: Mesa, Arizona, USA
Project Team: Ted Flato, FAIA, Andrew Herdeg, AIA, Chris Krajcer, Matt Wallace (Lake|Flato Architects), Joe Tyndall, Beau Dromiack, John Williams, Chris Doran, John Grosskopf (RSP Architects)
General Contractor: DPR
Landscape Architect: Ten Eyck
MEP Engineer: Energy Systems Design
Structural Engineer: Paragon
LEED Consultant: Green Ideas
Civil Engineer: Wood Patel & Associates
Acoustics: McKay Conant Brook
AV: Jeremiah & Associates
Cost Estimating: Rider Hunt Levett & Bailey
Fire & Life Safety: Rolf Jensen & Associates
Geotechnical: Speedie & Associates
Lab Consultant: RFD
ADA Consultant: Robert Lynch
Client: Arizona State University
Photographs: Bill Timmerman
By segmenting the program into five buildings, the architects formed four shady courtyards linked by portals and arcades, creating a cohesive pedestrian campus. The three largest buildings turn their sides to the east and west protecting the courtyards and atria from the seasonal monsoons. These shady, open-air atria provide environmentally sensitive social spaces that maximize visibility, daylighting, and the sense of community while minimizing energy usage by significantly eliminating interior conditioned circulation space.
Purposeful environmental strategies such as narrow building sections, shading devices and solar orientation allow 90% of the spaces to be effectively daylit, reduce thermal loads and contribute to a LEED Gold rating. Exposed building systems and regional material palette such as locally sourced ground faced block and perforated corrugated weathered steel reinforce the straightforward philosophy of the campus.