Raising Arizona State University Polytechnic
DPR helps ASU Polytechnic double its instructional space and grow its leadership in sustainable building with a new, green campus complex
When Arizona State University (ASU) Polytechnic set out to build a new 245,000-sq.-ft. facility targeting Silver Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED®) for New Construction certification, selecting a builder experienced in sustainable design and construction became a top requirement. DPR secured the project by demonstrating its technical expertise and its experience in green construction. In addition to building nine other projects for ASU, DPR also built the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University Building A (which achieved LEED gold) and Building B (which was the first LEED platinum building in Arizona) in a joint venture with Sundt Construction, Inc.
Designed by RSP Architects and Lake/Flato Architects, the architecturally complex ASU Polytechnic building expansion, which was completed in June, houses academic laboratories, university classrooms, faculty offices, a lecture hall, and a fine arts building that includes a black box theater, painting and drawing studios, and gallery space.
Project: ASU Polytechnic Campus
Client: Arizona Board of Regents
Architect: RSP Architects, Ltd.; Lake/Flato Architects
“The design intent was to create dynamic pedestrian environments that offer a cool, pleasant experience,” said Beau Dromiack, senior associate at RSP Architects. “The buildings are designed around three-story atriums that are fully covered by perforated metal panels on the horizontal surfaces and open on the vertical surface for ventilation. Each atrium has three large fans for increased air circulation, and the north and south ends are open to create view corridors and increase air movement.”
Sustainable features of the buildings include $3.5 million in exterior glass, which provides natural daylighting and views, and perforated/ rusted metal screens that shade the buildings from the sun. In addition, about 50 percent of the complex’s hardscape is stabilized decomposed granite, chosen to reduce the “heat island” effect.
One of the touchstones of the project, a large retaining wall, was made of recycled concrete. DPR also demolished, crushed on site and reused 4,400 tons of asphalt and concrete for the sub-base of a fire lane. In fact, about 89 percent of the site’s waste was either reused onsite or hauled away to be recycled.
The buildings also were designed to accept future photovoltaic panels. In August, ASU, a leader in solar power education and solar power usage, began installing 2 megawatts of solar electric panels on 135,000 sq. ft. of rooftop space and parking structures on its Tempe, AZ campus, making the Sun Devils the biggest sun users of any U.S. university, according to ASU.
“Arizona State University is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and creating sustainable environments for our students,” said Todd Raven, project manager for ASU’s Polytechnic campus. “DPR, with its expertise in green construction and building intricate laboratories for very diverse academic needs, was able to deliver on its promise of building a high-quality green product.”
In addition to its experience in green construction, DPR’s experience managing tight schedules, working collaboratively, and building technically complex laboratories proved to be equally important skills on the project.
“This was a very fast-track project, with an 18-month build for three academic buildings that structurally amounted to 11 buildings,” said DPR Project Manager Lew Laws. “We had to do some careful scheduling upfront, and we had to adjust workflows due to unexpected rain delays in January and February of this year.”
DPR also had to tightly coordinate with the crews putting in the water, sewer and natural gas for the project, as well as manage the complicated installation and coordination of the project’s MEP systems and varied exterior finishes—which include corrugated metal siding, ground-face masonry, redwood slab, galvanized metal, flat metal and perforated/rusted metal screens. “We had to work closely with all the subs whose work touches each other’s, including metal, masonry and glass, to make sure the proper connections and flashings were installed,” said Laws. “We also did 3-D coordination of the HVAC, electrical, fire sprinklers and acoustical ceiling prior to any construction going up. It saved a lot of potential rework and saved the owner from $40,000 to $50,000.”
“The DPR team met all of our varied demands, accommodating changes and last-minute decisions,” said Raven. “Even during crunch time, they were always true professionals.”
Posted on June 9, 2011
Last Updated August 23, 2022