Designed by architecture and planning firm Studio Ma, the Arizona State University’s (ASU’s) downtown Phoenix Residence Hall and Entrepreneurial Center, a 16-floor residential tower with academic and interdisciplinary facilities, has broken ground.
The innovation hub’s design expands community living space for up to 530 students and assists visiting professionals to connect organically with the city and regional business community through large windows and an urban paseo. The 26,384-m2 (284,000-sf) building also creates a resource platform supporting creative ventures among students, faculty, and alumni with local artists, businesses, and government agencies.
In a competitive process, Capstone Development Partners selected Studio Ma for the project based on its committed leadership, familiarity with the university and market, and ability to push the envelope on design and sustainability while maintaining all budget and performance parameters. DPR Construction will be the design-build provider.
Employing an innovative design concept that brings academic space and student housing under one roof, the team envisaged a 16-story innovation hub concept consisting of 13 floors of student housing above three levels of academic space. The innovation hub will be wrapped in a bioclimatic façade designed to minimize energy use and glare from the desert sun, conceived with the simulation software Studio Ma is beta-testing in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The angular façade in ultra-high performance concrete and metal panels and floor-to-ceiling windows—materials also used for the residential tower exterior—establishes a striking icon for the city.
The team also met challenging zoning and infill site conditions with an innovative massing and layout that offers an east-west pedestrian paseo that connects the community to the new complex.
In addition to helping the university meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, the new building optimizes indoor environmental quality in all spaces, including high-tech fabrication rooms and studio areas where sensitive materials and equipment are used.
The work promises to make Phoenix among the first U.S. cities with a university activated downtown space dedicated to collaboration across creative fields, organizations, and market sectors, according to the project team.