New Student Union, ASU Polytechnic Campus

Mesa, Arizona
Gould Evans Associates

An open, flexible student union invites students in, but carefully shades the desert sun.

Opened in the fall of 2004, the Student Union at Arizona State University east campus, a former military base, provides a new image for the rapidly growing campus. The building, designed by Gould Evans Associates, facilitates social interaction among students, faculty and the community, and is a hub of campus life.

New Student Union, ASU Polytechnic Campus
Photo © Mark Boisclair Photography
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Photo courtesy of Gould Evans Associates

The building acts as a container of activity with large multi-function and flexible spaces that open up to a future pedestrian mall and plaza space. The south portion houses a student lounge and dining area that open on three sides to outdoor patios and the main central circulation area. This space includes a coffee shop, game room, information desk, and bookstore. The 400-seat banquet hall opens to an exterior lobby and formal lawn area used for gatherings.

There is a direct relationship between the surrounding agricultural environment and the building design. The ceiling inside the large open dining/lounge space mimics the rows found in adjacent fields. An exterior dining canopy supported with steel beams continues the connection from inside to outside to future pedestrian paths and indigenous desert landscaping. The linear movement throughout the building resembles driving past rolling agricultural fields.

Expansive glass walls, carefully shaded to prevent direct sunlight from entering the building, invite students into the Union with generous views of the activity inside. Large overhead garage-type doors connect the interior and shaded exterior dining areas. The bookstore, located in the main entry, also includes an overhead door that can be opened for outdoor patio sales.

The design respects the relationship between a polytechnic campus and the natural desert environment. The building shell is covered in a corrugated metal scrim and painted deep red to recall brick buildings of older, more established university campuses and the colors of the Sonoran desert. The outer building envelope is offset from the scrim to provide shaded walkways around the building and shading for interior spaces. The scrim reduces direct sunlight by 70 percent, allowing the building to operate more efficiently.

Formal name of project:
New Student Union, ASU Polytechnic Campus

Location: ASU Polytechnic Campus, Mesa, Arizona

Gross square footage: 27,000 sq.ft.

Completion Date: August 2004

Total construction cost: $4.4 Million

Owner: ASU Polytechnic Campus

Gould Evans Associates
3136 N. 3rd Avenue,
Phoenix, AZ  85013



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