james richärd, aia principal


kelly bauer, fiida principal



stephen kennedy, aia ncarb principal



1545 west thomas road
phoenix, arizona 85015
p 602 264 1955
f 602 264 9234


interdisciplinary science + technology building 2, arizona state university

Arizona State University Main Campus, Tempe, AZ

Arizona State University

60,000 sf / 14.5M / Completed August 2005

The building is designed to support a myriad of programmatic needs, current programs include Advanced Pavement Research, Soils Dynamics, Fluid Dynamics, Thermodynamics and Combustion Research, Geology and Hydraulics and Structures Testing including a 110 Kip Reaction Strong Floor. Open, unassigned shell space was created to provide for new programs and attract research to the campus.



The Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 2 is conceptualized as “Living in the Machine”, a tectonic expression and weaving of its systems and programs, reflecting its purpose as an engineering and research facility. Primary building systems and distribution are housed in the exploded section, with air handling and distribution, piping and data distribution, and common building services all exposed within the centralized courtyard flanked by open flexible loft lab spaces. This configuration minimizes penetrations and fixed elements in the lab plan maximizing flexibility and adaptability.

In response to the harsh desert climate and the need for bulk material movement to the labs, the building’s linear shaded courtyard, 280 feet in length and over sixty feet in height, it is enclosed by perforated corten steel panels, providing a balance of natural daylight and filtered shade. Six large air moving fans circulate large volumes of air, while courtyard misting systems provide evaporative cooling on a pre-programmed cycle depending on seasonal need. The tempering of the space reduces air temperature by as much as 20 degrees at the peak of the year. The courtyard replaces the need for internalized circulation that would have had to be large enough to accommodate forklift traffic and bulk handling to the lab.

The central court provides gathering, conference and lounge spaces at each level to promote interaction within the interdisciplinary environment. A series of meeting “Enclaves” are provided at the upper levels, including a pair of crystalline rooms, hung from the structure at the mezzanine level focus on creating opportunities for casual interaction between researchers, faculty and students. Private offices and open research support spaces are located on the second level off the central court. The use of OSHA safety colors and pattering reinforce the hyper industrial quality of the space.

The unique structural system was derived out of the need for low cost accelerated construction sequencing, tight site and vibration criteria. Pre-cast concrete planks span between a series of full story tall “super trusses” that carry through the entire structure. These trusses support the second level labs as well as the interstitial mezzanines in the high bay space. Partitions between labs are temporary, and can be located at any location along the buildings length to meet whatever space requirement is necessary.

Photography: Bill Timmerman