Location: 8470 North Overfield Road, Coolidge, AZ 85128, USA
Design Director: Mark Kranz
Project Manager: Eddie Garcia
Project Architect: Joshua Vacca
Designer: Justin Trexler, Carrie Perrone
Photographs: Liam Frederick, Bill Timmerman
Interior Designer: Willa Lagoyda, Linda Salzmann
From the architect. This new ground up campus aims to create a unique and authentic identity for the growing Central Arizona College and to elevate its brand in the higher education marketplace while creating a highly sustainable prototype. Masterplanned for significant growth in the next twenty years, three buildings and a central plant represent an initial phase that will create a campus design language for future development to follow.
The three building campus is conceptually rooted in its historic agricultural roots and Native American legacy. Structures are conceived as a series of honest, spare and no maintenance ‘academic sheds.’ Deep overhangs let interior academic spaces flow outdoors seamlessly. Corten steel and rammed earth create the primary exterior language eliminating the need for long term maintenance. Unpainted structural steel and galvanized acoustical decking create the main interior volumes, while continuous north facing clerestory glazing harvests daylight, coupled with numerous large ‘daylight scoops.’
The main campus entry acts as a beacon for the community, promoting education and community based activities. A new campus language is born out of its unique desert context, a model for the campus of the future. Large frosted glass shade fins are designed to completely protect the building envelope at the summer solstice, while allowing views to the mountains beyond for both the library and the community room. Reaching out to the community and gesturally inviting the community in, the library and community rooms frame the campus entry with two iconic desert campus portals.
Each building strategically turns its back to the harsh desert southern sun, while harvesting northern daylight and creating a continuous shaded arcade on the south that connects the campus’ classrooms end to end. Rolling barn doors and minimal wall partitions organize interior volumes that are planned to be modular and easily removable when expansion and renovation occur in the future.
Four large light scoops flood the main student corridor with daylight in the instructional building, also aiding in ‘rural way finding’ for the one story campus that is still ‘out in the middle of nowhere.’