Interdisciplinary Building Designed for Better Health Outcomes in Arizona

 Hyper-Flexible Learning Environments Spur Collaboration and Innovation  

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CO Architects’ design for the Health Futures Center at Arizona State University features a trapezoidal undulating façade to minimize solar exposure to the east and west sides of the building. Click here for high-resolution images.

PHOENIX, AZ: Arizona State University’s (ASU) Health Futures Center (HFC), a collaborative investment focused on improving health and well-being for Arizonans, is now under construction adjacent to the Mayo Clinic campus in northeast Phoenix.  Designed by Los Angeles-based CO Architects, in collaboration with Executive Architect DFDG, the facility’s hyper-flexible framework supports interdepartmental research and collaborative programs between ASU and Mayo Clinic.  The three-floor, 145,200-square-foot, $80-million health sciences facility will establish a nexus of interdisciplinary research, innovation, and medical simulation.  HFC will combine programs from ASU’s College of Health Solutions, College of Nursing and Health Innovation, and Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering (including its Entrepreneurship + Innovation program), as well as shared programs with Mayo Clinic.  The project—the first on a new ASU campus—broke ground in April 2019, and is anticipated for completion in late 2020.

CO Architects’ expertise in designing hybrid experiential learning spaces has been sought out by many universities across the US.  As specialists in this new approach to learning, the firm has established a reputation for developing environments that dissolve barriers among disciplines, classrooms, teachers and students, and campus surroundings.  “Our goal with ASU’s Health Futures Center is to create opportunities that maximize interdisciplinary collaboration and research in partnership with Mayo Clinic Phoenix to help meet the mission of improving health outcomes,” said Jennifer Knudsen, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal at CO Architects.  “Our team designed the building to support a range of evolving interdepartmental research activities, industry partnerships, and teaching models through flexible, innovation-ready spaces.”

HFC features a trapezoidal undulating façade, designed to minimize solar exposure of glazing on its east and west sides.  The concept endeavors to optimize passive design strategies within this project’s hot desert climate.  CO Architects developed a custom-built parametric tool through 3D Generative Innovator, which was leveraged to provide real-time geometric feedback on various configurations of the primary surfaces and basic structural framework.  Residing on Dassault Systemes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, this tool also streamlined and democratized the visualization of this complex geometry to help key stakeholders comprehensively understand the design benefits.

To meet an accelerated schedule, the CO/DFDG team worked closely with DPR Construction’s pre-construction team through the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) delivery method.  Together, they developed a new, transparent, predictive cost-analysis tool that was used before and during programming.  The tool was effective in helping key stakeholders prioritize wants and needs ahead of the schematic design phase, allowing for an informed, successful design process within budgetary and timeline constraints.

CO Architects serves as design architect, master planner, laboratory planner, simulation planner, and interior designer for HFC.  DFDG served as executive architect.  Other project team members include DPR Construction (general contractor), ASE (structural engineer), AEI Affiliated Engineers, Inc. (MEP engineer), Wood Patel (civil engineer), Floor Associates (landscape), and Jeremiah Associates, LLC (AV/IT and acoustical).

Los Angeles-based CO Architects is nationally recognized for architectural planning, programming, and design in the higher education, science and technology, and healthcare sectors, and works with leading institutions from coast to coast.  CO Architects’ specialized expertise includes transformative schools of medicine and health professions, advanced research and teaching laboratories, and innovative clinical facilities on higher education, healthcare, and urban campuses.  The firm has been nationally and internationally recognized with more than 135 awards for innovative design and project delivery, including the American Institute of Architects, California Council’s Architecture Firm of the Year Award.

Founded in 1970, Phoenix-based DFDG provides a full range of architectural and interior design services for clients in higher education, civic, sports & recreation, parking, religious, and commercial/corporate.