Arizona State University Interdisciplinary Science + Technology Building 2

Arizona State University Interdisciplinary Science + Technology Building 2

Tempe, AZ

Adaptable Architectural Chassis for Research

As the typical building cross section demonstrates, established goals of economy, expediency, agility, sustainability, and flexibility for a dynamic program, shaped the design solution for the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 2 (ISTB2) as a flexible, modular, spatial and systems framework to support a variety of high-bay and ballroom type specialty engineering labs. The buildings capabilities revolve around quickly adapting to changing tenants and research requirements. The building tectonics and systems, designed to address constructability, infrastructure needs, and functional requirements such as vibration control, are exposed to demonstrate their function and to be easily accessible for reconfiguration.  The deliberate organization, detailing, and materiality all combine to create a unique character for the facility reflective of its purpose. The elemental structural system, comprised of repetitive trussed steel bents spanned by precast hollow core planks and infilled with unit masonry, provided a cost-effective approach that sourced materials and fabrication locally to meet the project budget, fast-track schedule, and sustainability goals.

The program gathered a diverse mix of research driven engineering labs including Pavement, Soils, Fluid Dynamics, Thermodynamics, Combustion, Geology, Hydraulics and Structures Testing including a wide variety of specialized equipment associated with their individual research pursuits. The tenant mix fluctuated throughout the design of the project and was anticipated to evolve over time emphasizing the need for adaptable architecture and building systems. Within the architectural framework a flexible modular utility infrastructure is distributed through an orchestrated network of floor trenches, overhead chases, and vertical pathways, allowing for expedited initial fit-up of lab spaces, and future overturn when needed. Unassigned shell space with was also provided for expansion of current programs and a resource to attract new research to the campus.

Influenced by the elongated, urban site, the labs are organized as two linear bars flanking a partially enclosed exterior, axial courtyard. To maximize the quality and utility of the lab spaces themselves, ancillary lab spaces are located in partial basement and mezzanine levels. Circulation and service cores are externalized to the shaded central courtyard reducing conditioned interior space. The court intentionally creates a unique experience for the building occupants and those passing through as a multi-level common space with a “science on display” narrative, one of the first science buildings on the ASU main campus to implement this approach.

Project facts

Design Architect: Richärd Kennedy Architects

Associate Architect: Richärd Kennedy Architects

Client: Arizona State University

Size:60,000 SF

Project Type: Science + Technology, Higher Education

Services: Architecture, Programming, Planning, Sustainability, Interior Design

Delivery Method: CMAR

General Contractor: Westpac Construction

Design MEP Engineer: Energy Systems Design, Inc.

Design Structural Engineer: Caruso Turley Scott, Inc.

Landscape Design Architect: CF Shuler

Photographer: Bill Timmerman

Certification: LEED Silver

Press & Awards

2007   IIDA Southwest Chapter PRIDE Award, Design Excellence for Environmental Design

2006   Research & Design - Lab of the Year / Lab of the Year High Honors

2006   AIA / SCUP National Honor Awards, Honor Award

2006   AIA Western Mountain Region, Honor Award

2006   AIA Arizona, Merit Award

2005   Southwest Contractor Best of 05, Best Green Building


The building is a tectonic expression of its systems and programs, reflecting its purpose as an engineering research facility. Primary building systems and distribution of common building services are all exposed and in a tangible and experiential way within the centralized courtyard and common space giving the occupants the sense that they are “living in the machine” that supports the research.

No items found.
Back to top