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Polytechnic complex gets the gold


November 02, 2009

Arizona State University’s Academic Complex at the Polytechnic campus is the latest facility to be added to the university’s collection of buildings that have been recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for its eco-friendly design and construction. The gold certification for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-New Construction” (LEED®-NC) was issued in September for the complex, which opened in 2008.

The USGBC issued the official gold certification based on the inclusions of sustainable features, awarding all 42 points that were attempted.

By integrating photovoltaic panels, recycled concrete and recycled building materials in its construction, the project employed innovative techniques to make use of Arizona’s abundant sunlight, while simultaneously protecting students from the heat.  The new buildings were completed through the collaboration of RSP Architects, Lake|Flato, and DPR Construction, Inc.   

“ASU is committed to creating sustainable environments for its students, and we are grateful for the efforts of many to make the Academic Complex such a success,” said David Brixen, the associate vice president for University Services.

Existing materials on the construction site were recycled and reused throughout the project. Existing river rock was used in the gabions (rock walls) in the courtyards, adding a natural privacy wall. In addition, 5,000 square feet of recycled concrete are now benches and retaining walls in the courtyard of Santa Catalina Hall. More than 3,500 tons of asphalt and concrete was recycled and re-used as underlayment for the natural walkways and fire road that loops the complex.

Atriums provide open-air shade and large ventilation fans help maximize the breezes to keep the area cool. The three courtyards in the complex provide an escape with natural walkways and vegetation throughout each one.  

To help reduce energy use, solar energy powers the team room on Santan Hall. And for those who like to use their own energy to get to work, showers are available in each of the buildings.

The facilities that make up the Academic Complex serve as a social and academic hub for students. The complex, made up of Peralta & Picacho Halls, Santa Catalina Hall, the Applied Arts Pavilion, Santan Hall and Aravaipa Auditorium, nearly doubled the existing inventory of general university classrooms, specialized instructional lab spaces, as well as faculty and departmental offices.

The Academic Complex has been recognized on numerous occasions since its opening and will be featured on the Greenbuild Tour Nov. 13 for participants attending the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Phoenix Nov. 11-13.

Additional accolades for the Academic Complex include:

• Best Public "Green" Building in Arizona — Engineering News-Record (ENR), Southwest Contractor Magazine.

• 2008 Best Green Building in the U.S. — Engineering News-Record (ENR) Magazine.

• Best Redevelopment Project in Arizona — AZRE | Arizona Commercial Real Estate Magazine.

• IDEAS2 Merit Award 200, Project Valued $15 million to $75 million — American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc.

• AIA National Merit Award Educational Facility Design — American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on Architecture for Education.

• Merit Award in Structural Engineering, New Buildings Over $10 Million —Structural Engineers Association of Arizona.

• Crescordia Environmental Excellence Award, Buildings and Structures: Public Assembly — Valley Forward Association.

• AIA Kemper Goodwin Award, The Collaboration Award — American Institute of Architects (AIA) Arizona Chapter.

• AIA Distinguished Building — American Institute of Architects (AIA) Arizona Chapter.