Health Sciences Education Building Collects Numerous Awards

Marian Frank
Marian Frank

The new anchor of the University of Arizona’s campus in downtown Phoenix has already received numerous awards for its architectural design and development. The building is even getting a starring role in a new television show.

The Health Sciences Education Building, completed during the summer of 2012, houses the university’s expanded medical school as well as smaller programs from Northern Arizona University. The construction of the building capped a long process of unprecedented cooperation between two of the state’s universities, the Arizona Board of Regents, the State of Arizona the City of Phoenix, faculty, staff and students, as well as two architects and two general contractors.

The heart of the developing Phoenix Biomedical Campus has amassed a dozen awards from a variety of organizations that recognize the significant architectural design aspects of this facility, including the prestigious American Institute of Architects (AIA).

 “We are proud that the building has achieved the high level of quality design that has been established at the University of Arizona’s main campus,” said Peter Dourlein, assistant vice president of Planning, Design and Construction for the university. “It represents the university well in Phoenix, and throughout our state as a sign of innovative leadership in higher education.”

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Among the most impressive honors is that of the architects’ institute. The AIA annually recognizes the best of the best in architecture. The Phoenix building received AIA Arizona and regional awards, as well as recognition from the California and Los Angeles AIA chapters where one of the project’s architects, CO Architects, is based.

The copper-clad facility was also praised for the innovative use of building materials by the Copper Development Association and Metal Architecture magazine.

The complexity of managing a project with two end-users (NAU and UA), two architects and two contractors to create a world-class facility on a tight budget and schedule earned the project team an award from Arizona Commercial Real Estate magazine for the Most Challenging Project of 2013.

“The building is typical of UA projects which face the challenge of producing a first-class building worthy of attracting and educating top-notch students on a fast-track schedule while being cost-effective,” Dourlein said. “As the first new university building on the UA’s Phoenix campus, it was important to keep the high standard set with the architectural integrity of the Tucson campus.”

Along with the design honors, the building’s sustainable features are being lauded as well. Arizona Forward, an environmental organization, selected the building for a merit award to acknowledge the facility’s environmental design features. The project is seeking LEED Gold certification.

The building even caught the eye of producers of a new national television show spotlighting great architecture scheduled to premiere on PBS stations in April. The show, “Cool Spaces,” picked the building along with two hospitals for one of the pilot episodes highlighting outstanding “healing spaces.”

The building also has been featured in magazines and trade publications, the most recent of which was the cover of February 2014 edition of “The Construction Specifier,” a construction industry periodical.

Awards Received:

  • Most Challenging Project, Arizona Commercial Real Estate Red Award.
  • North American Copper in Architecture, Copper Development Association.
  • Best of LA Architects Award, Los Angeles Business Council.
  • Merit Award for Architectural Design, American Institute of Architects – Arizona.
  • Honor Award for Architectural Design, American Institute of Architects – California Council.
  • Citation “Next LA”, American Institute of Architects – Los Angeles.
  • Best Project – Higher Education/Research, Engineering News Record Magazine Southwest.
  • Award of Merit – Buildings and Structures, Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence.
  • Technology in Architectural Practice.
  • Building Information Model, American Institute of Architects.
  • Design Award – Natural Metal Category, Metal Architecture (Magazine).
  • North American Copper in Architecture, Copper Development Association.
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About the College

Founded in 2007, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix inspires and trains exemplary physicians, scientists and leaders to optimize health and health care in Arizona and beyond. By cultivating collaborative research locally and globally, the college accelerates discovery in a number of critical areas — including cancer, stroke, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular disease. Championed as a student-centric campus, the college has graduated 593 physicians, all of whom received exceptional training from nine clinical partners and more than 2,400 diverse faculty members. As the anchor to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, which is projected to have an economic impact of $3.1 billion by 2025, the college prides itself on engaging with the community, fostering education, inclusion, access and advocacy.