University of Arizona Sciences Building Wins Design Award

By SCN Staff

TUCSON, Ariz.—Los Angeles-based CO Architects recently won a 2020 American Architecture Award for its work on the $128 million University of Arizona Health Sciences Innovation Building (HSIB) in Tucson.

The honor was presented in the Schools and Universities category by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

“This American Architecture Award is a tribute to our team’s insightful work on the University of Arizona HSIB,” said Scott Kelsey, FAIA, managing principal at CO Architects. “Our architects creatively unified the new multi‐purpose building with its environment, echoing our mission to elevate communities with benchmark design.”

Completed in 2019, the 230,000‐square‐foot HSIB is a multidisciplinary medical and health‐sciences education facility that supports the university’s Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Public Health, as well as the Arizona Simulation Technology and Education Center. Kitchell was the general contractor on this impressive project.

To connect the HSIB to the campus’ existing masonry brick aesthetic, CO Architects selected terracotta, a material that could be extruded and manipulated. Visually appealing, the terracotta is hung on the façade’s curtainwall system, improving the building’s energy performance.

Facility highlights include the first‐floor, multi‐story “forum,” a flexible event space that serves the building’s departments, the university populace, and the outside community. The room opens to the campus through three glass hangar doors, expanding the space and supporting events from 50 to 1,000 guests. Social/study terraces are carved into the building to provide shaded outdoor access to nature and extensive views.

On the seventh floor, a black box theater‐inspired “Simulation Deck” creates immersive simulation environments that mimic realistic, multi‐sensory experiences supplemented by a viewing gallery.

The University of Arizona HSIB project is CO Architects’ eighth American Architecture Award, dating back to 2013. The 2020 award winners were selected from more than 400 entries.