NASCC 2017

Night School


Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus Wins National Architecture and Engineering Award
New Academic Buildings Accommodate Innovative Ways of Learning

March 24, 2009 from American Institute of Steel Construction

(Chicago, IL) – A classroom complex at the Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus has earned national recognition in the 2009 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2), and members of the project team will be presented with awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) during a public ceremony in the Santan Building courtyard on the Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus, Mesa, Ariz., at 9 am on Wednesday, April 1. Conducted annually by AISC, the IDEAS2 awards recognize outstanding achievements in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects around the country.

Project team members include owner Arizona State University; architect Lake/Flato Architects, San Antonio, Texas; associate architect RSP Architects, Tempe, Ariz.; structural engineer Paragon Structural Design, Phoenix; AISC certified member fabricator/detailer/erector Schuff Steel Company, Phoenix; general contractor DPR Construction, Phoenix; consultant Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Phoenix.

The classroom buildings are a Merit Winner in the category of projects $15 million to $75 million, making it the only project around the country to earn an award in this classification. Each year, the IDEAS2 awards honor National and Merit award winners in three categories, based on constructed value: projects less than $15 million; projects $15 million to $75 million; and projects greater than $75 million. Each project is judged on its use of structural steel, with an emphasis on creative solutions to project requirements; design innovation; aesthetic and visual impact of the project; innovative use of architecturally exposed structural steel; technical or architectural advances in the use of steel; the use of innovative design and construction methods; and sustainable design.

“As a school recognized for its research in sustainability, it is only right that its new facilities would be models of high-performance design,” commented Christina Koch, LEED AP, editor in chief, eco-structure and metalmag magazines, a judge in the competition. “These buildings integrate structural steel in a thoughtful way while including many complementary uses of steel for aesthetics and programming reasons. The open-air aspects of the buildings encourage students to stay within them even after class is over.”

The five new academic buildings more than doubled the instructional lab space at the Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus. Integrated with three existing buildings to create a cohesive complex, the 245,000-sq.-ft. facilities house four distinct, but unified colleges that are configured around three courtyards and linked by a series of open-air atriums, building portals and arcades. The campus design takes advantage of the region’s seasonally temperate climate by relying on protected exterior circulation, both at ground level and with catwalks, which connect the buildings.

“Innovative, environmental, efficient – it’s a well composed grouping of complimentary buildings, sympathetic to the landscape and expressive of structural steel,” commented Raymond Clark, AIA, LEED AP, of Perkins+Will architects, a judge in the competition.

The exposed building systems and use of steel, which express a balanced response to the climate and context, reflect the Polytechnic Campus’ straightforward philosophy, and the new pedestrian-friendly campus encourages students and faculty to stay on school grounds to interact and learn.

Documents for the fast-track project, ranging from master planning to construction, were completed in seven months. The project had a goal of receiving a LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, but is currently tracking toward LEED Gold certification.

The primary materials for the five new academic buildings consist of steel, CMU, and glass. The 2,200 tons of steel used for this project include: painted structural steel, painted flat and corrugated steel siding, and weathered perforated sun screens. Steel was used at every scale within the project. At the largest extent, the painted structural steel frame is exposed throughout the campus and celebrated within the open-air atriums and on several anchor buildings. Within this steel framework, lightweight and corrugated and flat-seam metal siding responds to the aridness of the desert and prevents heat buildup within the wall cavity.

The 11 IDEAS2 winners for 2009 were chosen from nearly 100 submissions received by architectural and engineering firms throughout the U.S. Each submission is reviewed and award winners are selected by a nationally recognized panel of design and construction industry professionals.

The IDEAS2 awards are the highest project-based awards bestowed by the structural steel industry, with the annual program dating back over 70 years to the earliest years of AISC’s existence. Roger E. Ferch, P.E. president of AISC, said, “The entire Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus project team has shown how structural steel can be used to create campus buildings that combine beauty and practicality. The result is a facility that serves its students and faculty extremely well, while providing an example of what can be achieved when designing and constructing projects with steel.”

Photos of the Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus project are available upon request. Please contact Tasha O’Berski at AISC via e-mail, [email protected], or by phone, 312.670.5439. The public ceremony will coincide with NASCC, which takes place from April 1-4 in Phoenix, AZ. For more information on NASCC, please visit www.aisc.org/nascc.


For more information contact:

Tasha O'Berski
Communications Department
(312) 670-5439
[email protected]


ASU Polytechnic 2


American Institute of Steel Construction
The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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