SmithGroup wins AIA honors for Tempe, Tucson projects

Posted By Mike Padgett

Nov. 11, 2008

SmithGroup has received awards for its designs of Papago Gateway Center in Tempe and Roy P. Drachman Hall at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The awards were received from the American Institute of Architects Western Mountain Region at the 2008 Design Awards banquet in Santa Fe. N.M. Each design received an award of merit in the distinguished building category.

Papago Gateway Center, at the northwest corner of Mill Avenue and Washington Street, is called the first corporate office and research lab, mixed-use facility in Tempe. The six-story building has 267,000 square feet and a parking structure with 933 spaces.

The first tenant was First Solar, which makes thin-film photovoltaic solar panels. The company signed a seven-year lease for 31,000 square feet on the sixth floor, according to the City of Tempe’s Web site. SmithGroup Design Principal Mark Roddy says the building “responds to the request that every floor be able to accommodate either corporate office or research laboratory functions.”

Papago Gateway Center is pre-certified LEED-CS Silver Certification, but it is tracking at Gold Certification for the project’s innovation in sustainable design.

Roy P. Drachman Hall is designed as two simple masonry volumes that rest on stilts, creating shaded student arcades adjacent to interior ground-level classrooms. Views and daylight for faculty offices and meeting rooms are provided by straightforward openings. The three-story design has 117,000 square feet. The two buildings, home to the university’s Colleges of Pharmacy and Health, are connected by a glass bridge.

SmithGroup Design Principal Mark Kranz says the design “complements the existing architectural vocabulary of red brick, precast concrete and metal, aiming to contribute to a greater campus language.”

SmithGroup, ranked the nation’s ninth-largest architecture and engineering firm by Building Design + Construction, has offices in Phoenix; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Chicago; Detroit; Los Angeles; Madison, Wis.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; San Francisco; and Washington D.C.




Nov 11th, 2008

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