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Health Sciences Education Building, Phoenix Biomedical Campus

CO Architects, Ayers Saint Gross

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University of Arizona & Northern Arizona University


  • CO Architects
  • Ayers Saint Gross


  • Structural Engineer: John A. Martin & Associates
  • Mechanical Engineer: Affiliated Engineers
  • Civil Engineer: Dibble Engineers
  • Landscape Architect: Floor Associates
  • Other: Davis Langdon
  • Other: The Sextant Group
  • General Contractor: DPR/Sundt Joint Venture
  • Other: Bill Timmerman Photography

Project Status


Year Completed




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Project Description

The 268,000-GSF building is highly sustainable; the exterior cladding – native Arizona copper – is designed as an insulating layer that floats in front of the exterior skin to provide protection from the desert sun by stack effect. Inspired by the region’s iconic canyon formations, the copper panels are engineered with a series of intricate, irregular folds that reinterpret the stratified earth rock formations of the surrounding desert canyons.

The canyon space, shaded by PTFE sails, is further made comfortable through the introduction of tempered “waste” building relief air normally exhausted to the roof. The relatively thin building bars provide daylight throughout with extensive shading devices controlling the amount of solar radiation. The building has been successful in creating a strong sense of community for this new institution and establishing a recognizable landmark for downtown Phoenix – an image of progressive education very much in keeping with the goals of this new medical education institution.
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