Brought to you with support fromThe Sandra Day O'Connor Law School, at Arizona State University (ASU), is a new six-story, 260,000-square-foot state-of-the-art law school, designed by New York-based Ennead Architects in collaboration with Jones Studio. The architecture of the building is inspired by the school’s progressive legal scholarship and outreach to the community through services like a public interest law clinic and the nation’s first not-for-profit teaching law firm. Ennead Architects say the Phoenix-based school is designed to act as an institutional agent of change dedicated to educating students and citizens on the importance of the law in shaping civil society. In response to this initiative, the building design encourages vibrant connections between ASU, the College of Law, and the local downtown Phoenix community. A north-south “slice” through the courtyard massing creates an inviting and active public space with a pedestrian pathway that brings individuals directly into the central core of the law school, exposing them to the main lobby and three double-height spaces located at the heart of the building. Here, an expansive bi-folding glass door at the front of the school's Great Hall blurs the line between indoor and outdoor space, providing flexibility while offering a unique civic space to the downtown Phoenix community. Brian Masuda, associate partner at Ennead Architects, said this massing strategy paired environmental responsiveness with the desire to expose the core functions of the building to the public. The courtyard allows views into the building while self-shading large glazed areas of the facade. Sustainability was a key design driver throughout the process. A "hard-shell," which the design team considered a "protective skin" that performs as a shading device, wraps all of the exterior surfaces of the building. Ennead collaborated with Buro Happold to develop an articulated facade of Arizona sandstone with aluminum and glass windows. Masuda said internal programming and solar orientation prompted undulation in the window openings of the facade: "The aesthetic was driven by the program and environmental analysis. We wanted to make the stone facade modulate and calibrate in a way that when the windows got wider, fin elements got deeper." The facade is unitized and factory assembled, both to assure quality and to achieve a higher standard of thermal performance. The decision to work with a unitized system also helped with an aggressive one-year design and documentation schedule, said Masuda: "A unitized prefab facade system came into play because of the efficiency of the construction." Heavily insulated walls and roof also contribute to the efficiency of the shell. Mechanically, the building incorporates energy-efficient technologies, including chilled beams and under-floor displacement cooling. The project team said that because of the integration of these passive systems, they relied more heavily on the performance of the building envelope. "Hot spots" discovered through energy modeling were managed by the fine tuning of glazing types, the specification of high solar heat gain coefficients, and fritting in specific areas of the facade. The building is expected to reduce energy consumption by 37% compared to a baseline building, per ASHRAE 90.1-2007. Desert-adaptive planting and water features activate the landscape, helping to minimize on-site irrigation demands. The building taps into a campus-wide system of tracking energy usage, which is publicly accessible online through ASU’s “campus metabolism” website.
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LEED Platinum renovation reconnects the Health Services Building to the campus core.Early in their renovation of the Arizona State University Health Services Building, Lake|Flato Architects, working with orcutt | winslow, decided to scrap the university’s initial concept in favor of a plan that would reengage the campus’s historic pedestrian corridor, the Palm Walk. Instead of building an addition to the north side of the existing facility, which included a serviceable two-story building constructed in the 1950s and another structure Lake|Flato partner Andrew Herdeg described as "a rambling one-story rabbit warren of spaces," the architects elected to demolish the one-story wing and build a two-story addition in its place. "This initial idea that we need to look at the basic concept before we start the design, and think about it from the campus design perspective, changed everything," said Herdeg. It allowed the design team to reduce the program by about 12 percent and reduce the footprint by 20 percent, as well as to preserve 5,000 square feet of green space for programs and stormwater mitigation. But it also presented a challenge. The renovated building’s primary identity would be on the east facade of the building, where the desert sun had the potential to undo efficiencies gained elsewhere. Lake|Flato and orcutt | winslow responded with a building envelope that provides a strong visual connection to the Palm Walk while reducing solar gain to the absolute minimum. The architects wrapped the south and west sides of the addition, where the clinics are located, in a tight brick over rigid fiberglass insulation. "The brick picks up on some surrounding historic buildings, and is also a traditional material for the campus," said Herdeg. The designers articulated the east side of the building with a series of bays and adjacent pocket gardens. The bays are oriented to the south and southeast, rather than due east, with the glazing on their south facets. "Instead of thinking about engaging the campus in a frontal way, we always thought of approaching this building on the diagonal," explained Herdeg. "Thinking about how the pedestrian perceives it helped us strategize about solar assets and thermal loads." The unglazed portions of the bays are clad in a metal skin, behind which an inch and a half of rigid insulation serves to eliminate thermal bridging. The articulated facade is designed to self-shade as the sun rises. "We worked on a series of pretty rudimentary daylighting studies that allowed us to look at the spacing of the bays," said Herdeg. "We did this balancing act between creating little pocket gardens, and using the adjacent bays to self-shade the glazing on the bays next to them." The design team installed corrugated metal overhangs over the bay windows to provide additional protection from direct sunlight. A series of recycled wood pulp and plastic screens from Trex, installed over the bay windows and over some of the glazing on the south and west sides of the building, constitute a final layer of defense against the Phoenix sun. "The Trex louver system allowed the solar thermal to be picked up on the lattice rather than the building skin; it was another barrier to the thermal load," said Herdeg. "The lattice also supports vines that are going to grow up, so these pocket gardens get surrounded by lush vine-covered walls." Likewise, on the new building’s two other facades, "the thought was that each of the little patient rooms would not be looking out at parking, but at a green screen," he explained. Lake|Flato and orcutt | winslow’s LEED Platinum intervention, which included replacing all the single-pane windows in the 1950s building with low-E insulated glass, will surely save ASU substantial sums on its energy bills. More importantly—thanks to the designers’ decision to demolish the inefficient one-story wing—it weaves the Health Services Building back into the campus fabric. "Now the building really addresses the campus," said Herdeg. "Before it had this very disjointed identity. Now we’ve created a cohesive identity with a single entrance. It’s a much better solution."
If you’re wandering the aisles of the Phoenix Convention Center for Greenbuild 2009 this week and need a break from the worthy trade booths, swing by Arizona State University’s Power Plants installation. It’s a mini-environmental system based on a polyvinyl panel with oxygen-rich aloe plants fed by an IV drip. Each structure incorporates a monitor displaying the scope of sustainable initiatives carried out at ASU. The idea behind the pipe is that it creates a structural narrative linking each element of the environmental system, and should be a lighthearted break in the day! The project is a collaborative design led by Jason Griffiths, Darren Petrucci, Phil Horton, and various members of the ASU student body. Also, don’t forget to come to The Architect’s Newspaper’s party tonight (co-hosted with Arup, SWA Group, and KMD Architecture) at Monorchid Studios, 214 East Roosevelt, just a five-minute walk from the convention center.