Inspired by its surrounding southwestern landscape, the Health Sciences Education Building (HSEB) at The University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix is one of the most innovative construction projects in the United States utilizing predominately recycled copper. Using nearly 6,000 copper panels and more than 10,000 copper parts, this 268,000 square-foot building consists of six stories of administration and faculty offices, lecture halls, learning studios, flexible classrooms, clinical suites, gross anatomy facilities, laboratories and conference rooms.
The Copper Development Association (CDA), in conjunction with GreenCE, has developed a two-part video case study which further highlights the building materials and craftsmanship of the HSEB project, and the design philosophy and strategy behind the sustainable design and construction of this state-of-the-art facility. Both hour-long videos are registered with the USGBC for continuing education credits and with the American Institute of Architects (AIA), which requires architects to pursue continuing education to maintain their accreditation.
Part one of the case study articulates how the selection and development of a building’s site can support the health of the surrounding community and identifies the positive outcomes of using the Integrated Design Process encouraged by LEED Certification. Architects can register for the free online course on the GreenCE website.
Using 26 different copper panels arranged in multiple combinations, the designers were able to create an abstract pattern that represented the surrounding desert landscape, bringing the project’s vision to life. “If you look, a lot of the views around here are of the mountains that surround Phoenix. We wanted the color and the striations [of the building] to relate to those mountains,” Paul Zajen, Design Principal for CO Architects, states in the video. “We realized we could get that with copper.”
In addition to its aesthetic appeal, the copper-cladding provides the HSEB with a skin suitable for the desert climate. With Phoenix temperatures reaching as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit, copper is an attractive alternative to steel due to its ability to quickly reject heat. Its copper-clad exterior literally serves as a shield protecting the building interior from direct solar exposure. Adapting rainscreen technology, the building’s engineers took a system typically used in the northwest and created a way to use copper cladding as a sunscreen to keep excessive heat out of the HSEB. Completed in August 2012, the HSEB project is targeting LEED Silver certification for new construction.
Students at the University of Arizona and Northern University Arizona will be using the Health Sciences Education Building for various programs. The new facility will serve as a training ground for 1,200 medical professionals each year.