Recycled copper walls clad the new, 5-story Arizona College of Nursing and Health Innovation Phase II building on the Downtown Phoenix campus of Arizona State University. According to architect Mark Kranz with SmithGroup, Phoenix, copper was chosen because it met the client’s request for an affordable, sustainable and low-maintenance building material that fit aesthetically with the four preexisting campus buildings in the five-year-old downtown campus. The steel-framed building’s use of copper additionally reflects the state of Arizona’s copper-mining history and because the material could be purchased in coils, allowed the design-build team increased flexibility in creating an articulated and cost-effective envelope. The breaking and bending of the various profiles helped improve the panels’ structural stability against oil canning.
But designing and building a structure for a hot, arid climate area presented its own set of challenges, primarily keeping the building cool during the afternoons. The building randomly alternates three different profiles of copper skin panels, and employs perforated panels to provide air movement and shading on exterior balconies and stairs. The northern wall makes use of a high-performance glass curtainwall to shield an exterior staircase, while the western wall, which faces the most intense sunlight, utilizes a screen of perforated copper to shade a series of balconies. The southeast corner incorporates a shade canopy that extends to the property’s perimeter, providing an overhang shading device for students on the high-traffic street corner area.
Completed last September, the 84,000-square-foot structure took 18 months to design and build-a tight, but increasingly common timeframe, according to Kranz. The project team worked in close collaboration with the city of Phoenix, the building’s owner, Arizona State University and the contractor to maximize the building’s design, which extends, square-like, to the edge of its urban floor plate.
Architect: SmithGroup, Phoenix, www.smithgroup.com
Building Owner: City of Phoenix, (605) 256-3545
General Contractor: DPR Construction, Phoenix, www.dprinc.com
Installer: Kovach Inc., Chandler, Ariz., www.kovach.net
Structural Engineer: Paragon Structural Design Inc., Phoenix, (602) 258-0011
Civil Engineer: Dibble Engineering, Goodyear, Ariz., (632) 935-2258
Metal Product: 15,000 square feet of UNACLAD Architectural Grade Sheet Copper from Copper Sales Inc., a division of Firestone Metal Products, Anoka, Minn., www.unaclad.com