Contract - Students and the City: SmithGroup designs Arizona State University student housing complex, Taylor Place

design - features - education design



Students and the City: SmithGroup designs Arizona State University student housing complex, Taylor Place

28 June, 2010

-By Stacy Straczynski



When American actor Steve McQueen said, “I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth,” he obviously couldn’t have fathomed the urban appeal of Taylor Place, a $120-million, 352,000-sq.-ft. housing complex for first- and second-year Arizona State University (ASU) students. At the heart of ASU’s new Phoenix campus, the SmithGroup-designed facility is the realization of a three-pronged collaboration between the City of Phoenix, ASU, and Capstone Development Corp. to not only revitalize an underdeveloped section of the city’s downtown but also to attract ASU students to actually want to live on campus.

The main driver behind the project was a joint desire to bring a college campus to downtown Phoenix: The city wanted a means of stimulus for the area, while ASU sought to extend the programs at its College of Nursing and Health Innovation and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. By moving these schools out of the main Tempe campus, ASU students would be closer to internships and public programs.

ASU set up shop in several existing buildings, but the major missing piece was an attractive and comprehensive housing option for students. (At the time, the Phoenix students were living in an old Ramada, complete with cleaning service.) The two institutions enlisted Capstone Development Corp., a student housing, management, and construction firm, to purchase the land and manage all aspects of the financing and realization, including the hiring of local architecture and design firm SmithGroup. With three clients, each coming to the table with its own set of goals and parameters, SmithGroup’s designers needed to create a set of residential high-rise towers for freshman and sophomore students that provided all the latest bells and whistles while remaining within the standard ASU housing portfolio; provide sections of the buildings that would be retail-oriented and offer public access; and provide a proper balance of privacy and safety for students.

The solution was an aesthetic and functional mixed-use structure. Two 13-story towers set the stage for Taylor Place. Tower One (completed in August 2008) features a one or two student-per-room option, while Tower Two (August 2009) features a two-per-suite format. A unique aspect within the double and single room layout is that each includes its own HVAC unit with thermostat and bathroom, offering a prime incentive for residents.

Selected “city view” rooms throughout the towers feature floor-to-ceiling glass windows, which offer another amenity to students and serve to enhance and differentiate the exterior composition, covered in an aluminum composite of varying shades. “It was an architectural decision that lent itself to the program by offering students variety. And so I think those two worked hand in hand,” says SmithGroup design principal Mark Kranz, AIA, LEED AP.
Taylor Place also caters to “consumer demand” by providing an assortment of social spaces for the students to study, eat, and interact, many of which are located outdoors to take advantage of the mild climate.

“Students these days want their own identity…but also a place to come together,” explains Kranz. “When you have [private rooms], you have to pump up the other spaces because you don’t want students to become isolated. You want to give them the ability to feel a part of a larger community. It’s an interesting balance and one of the experiments on this project that has been hugely successful.”

The entire first floor conjoins the towers and is allocated for 11,000-sq.-ft. of retail space. An outdoor urban shade garden at the corner of First and Taylor Streets provides an area where the entire community can mingle during normal business hours. “What I like best is the way the building integrates public and private space,” says Chad Izmirian, senior vice president of Capstone Development Corp. “We get a lot of people from the public having breakfast or lunch at Taylor Place—police officers, postal workers, surrounding business employees, etc.” The space also houses a 10,000-sq.-ft. main dining hall and swanky lounge.

This theme of “shared” community also is carried through the student-only areas. Open-air bridges on each floor connect the towers, encouraging resident interaction. Each odd-numbered floor bridge contains a study pod, furnished with comfortable white sofas. These are visible from the street via their bright, rusted orange color and provide the city below a glimpse into student life.

Sky Lounges, located on every other floor and joined by an interconnecting stairway, also serve to bring students together, while floor common areas provide access to communal TVs, vending machines, and laundry facilities.

But perhaps the most appealing feature of Taylor Place is the designers’ choice to infuse technology into the project. The entire building is outfitted for Wi-Fi access, and large digital monitors throughout the building notify students of important announcements. Even the laundry room is wired to notify students via text message or Web notification when machines become available.

“It’s what students expect these days,” says Izmirian. “We’re catering to students who were born in the ’90s…They communicate differently than our generation. They have text messages, Web portals, digital displays, and every student has a preferred way of communicating.”
“This is not your grandfather’s dormitory. The typology of student housing has evolved rapidly in the last 20 years,” Kranz adds. “When you integrate technology, position and consolidate interaction spaces, and then use them in a way that can connect back to the urban environment, as well, that’s where the ability for innovation begins.”

As the only true urban student housing facility in Arizona to date, according to Kranz, the project did well to spark some life back into a once lackluster metro area. The city is now “bustling with students in a way that has never been more visible, and Taylor Place is a big part of that,” he says. “The spaces are fantastic and I think a lot of us are jealous that dorms didn’t look like this when we were in college.”


who
Client: Capstone Development. Architect, mechanical/electrical engineer, lighting designer: SmithGroup. Interior designer: Capstone Interiors/Smithgroup. Structural engineer: Paul Koehler Engineers. General contractor: Austin Commercial. Furniture dealer: Capstone Interiors Group. Photographer: Liam Frederick.

what
Wallcoverings: Cascade Coil (ceiling hung room divider). Paint: Sherwin-Williams. Laminate: WilsonArt. Dry wall: Georgia Pacific. Masonry: Trendstone. Flooring: Ground Concrete, Uni & Inni, Daltile, Armstrong, Mondo Sport. Carpet/carpet tile: Interface. Ceiling: 9wood, Armstrong. Lighting: Zaneen, Selux, Lithonia, Belfer, Waldmann, Lighting Concepts, Zanine. Doors: CECO, Marshfield. Door hardware: Corbin Russwin Glass: Guardian. Window frames/wall systems: EFCO, Keystone. Window treatments: Mariak, Cambridge. Workstations: Herman Miller. Lounge seating: Sandler. Cafeteria, dining, auditorium seating: Sandler, Harter. Other seating: Brayton, Turnstone, Forms & Surfaces. Conference table: Convene. Cafeteria, dining, training tables: Sandler. Files, shelving: Steelcase. Architectural woodworking: Custom, Plyboo, 3form. Cabinetmaking: TMI Systems. Planters, accessories: Custom fabricated from steel plate. Signage: Custom signage, Room Signage. Plumbing fixtures: Sterling, Crane, Delta, Lasco, Symmons.

where
Location: Phoenix, AZ. Total floor area: 352,000 sq. ft. No. of floors: 13. Average floor size: 24,500 sq. ft. Cost/sq. ft.: $194.



Students and the City: SmithGroup designs Arizona State University student housing complex, Taylor Place

28 June, 2010


Liam Frederick

When American actor Steve McQueen said, “I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth,” he obviously couldn’t have fathomed the urban appeal of Taylor Place, a $120-million, 352,000-sq.-ft. housing complex for first- and second-year Arizona State University (ASU) students. At the heart of ASU’s new Phoenix campus, the SmithGroup-designed facility is the realization of a three-pronged collaboration between the City of Phoenix, ASU, and Capstone Development Corp. to not only revitalize an underdeveloped section of the city’s downtown but also to attract ASU students to actually want to live on campus.

The main driver behind the project was a joint desire to bring a college campus to downtown Phoenix: The city wanted a means of stimulus for the area, while ASU sought to extend the programs at its College of Nursing and Health Innovation and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. By moving these schools out of the main Tempe campus, ASU students would be closer to internships and public programs.

ASU set up shop in several existing buildings, but the major missing piece was an attractive and comprehensive housing option for students. (At the time, the Phoenix students were living in an old Ramada, complete with cleaning service.) The two institutions enlisted Capstone Development Corp., a student housing, management, and construction firm, to purchase the land and manage all aspects of the financing and realization, including the hiring of local architecture and design firm SmithGroup. With three clients, each coming to the table with its own set of goals and parameters, SmithGroup’s designers needed to create a set of residential high-rise towers for freshman and sophomore students that provided all the latest bells and whistles while remaining within the standard ASU housing portfolio; provide sections of the buildings that would be retail-oriented and offer public access; and provide a proper balance of privacy and safety for students.

The solution was an aesthetic and functional mixed-use structure. Two 13-story towers set the stage for Taylor Place. Tower One (completed in August 2008) features a one or two student-per-room option, while Tower Two (August 2009) features a two-per-suite format. A unique aspect within the double and single room layout is that each includes its own HVAC unit with thermostat and bathroom, offering a prime incentive for residents.

Selected “city view” rooms throughout the towers feature floor-to-ceiling glass windows, which offer another amenity to students and serve to enhance and differentiate the exterior composition, covered in an aluminum composite of varying shades. “It was an architectural decision that lent itself to the program by offering students variety. And so I think those two worked hand in hand,” says SmithGroup design principal Mark Kranz, AIA, LEED AP.
Taylor Place also caters to “consumer demand” by providing an assortment of social spaces for the students to study, eat, and interact, many of which are located outdoors to take advantage of the mild climate.

“Students these days want their own identity…but also a place to come together,” explains Kranz. “When you have [private rooms], you have to pump up the other spaces because you don’t want students to become isolated. You want to give them the ability to feel a part of a larger community. It’s an interesting balance and one of the experiments on this project that has been hugely successful.”

The entire first floor conjoins the towers and is allocated for 11,000-sq.-ft. of retail space. An outdoor urban shade garden at the corner of First and Taylor Streets provides an area where the entire community can mingle during normal business hours. “What I like best is the way the building integrates public and private space,” says Chad Izmirian, senior vice president of Capstone Development Corp. “We get a lot of people from the public having breakfast or lunch at Taylor Place—police officers, postal workers, surrounding business employees, etc.” The space also houses a 10,000-sq.-ft. main dining hall and swanky lounge.

This theme of “shared” community also is carried through the student-only areas. Open-air bridges on each floor connect the towers, encouraging resident interaction. Each odd-numbered floor bridge contains a study pod, furnished with comfortable white sofas. These are visible from the street via their bright, rusted orange color and provide the city below a glimpse into student life.

Sky Lounges, located on every other floor and joined by an interconnecting stairway, also serve to bring students together, while floor common areas provide access to communal TVs, vending machines, and laundry facilities.

But perhaps the most appealing feature of Taylor Place is the designers’ choice to infuse technology into the project. The entire building is outfitted for Wi-Fi access, and large digital monitors throughout the building notify students of important announcements. Even the laundry room is wired to notify students via text message or Web notification when machines become available.

“It’s what students expect these days,” says Izmirian. “We’re catering to students who were born in the ’90s…They communicate differently than our generation. They have text messages, Web portals, digital displays, and every student has a preferred way of communicating.”
“This is not your grandfather’s dormitory. The typology of student housing has evolved rapidly in the last 20 years,” Kranz adds. “When you integrate technology, position and consolidate interaction spaces, and then use them in a way that can connect back to the urban environment, as well, that’s where the ability for innovation begins.”

As the only true urban student housing facility in Arizona to date, according to Kranz, the project did well to spark some life back into a once lackluster metro area. The city is now “bustling with students in a way that has never been more visible, and Taylor Place is a big part of that,” he says. “The spaces are fantastic and I think a lot of us are jealous that dorms didn’t look like this when we were in college.”


who
Client: Capstone Development. Architect, mechanical/electrical engineer, lighting designer: SmithGroup. Interior designer: Capstone Interiors/Smithgroup. Structural engineer: Paul Koehler Engineers. General contractor: Austin Commercial. Furniture dealer: Capstone Interiors Group. Photographer: Liam Frederick.

what
Wallcoverings: Cascade Coil (ceiling hung room divider). Paint: Sherwin-Williams. Laminate: WilsonArt. Dry wall: Georgia Pacific. Masonry: Trendstone. Flooring: Ground Concrete, Uni & Inni, Daltile, Armstrong, Mondo Sport. Carpet/carpet tile: Interface. Ceiling: 9wood, Armstrong. Lighting: Zaneen, Selux, Lithonia, Belfer, Waldmann, Lighting Concepts, Zanine. Doors: CECO, Marshfield. Door hardware: Corbin Russwin Glass: Guardian. Window frames/wall systems: EFCO, Keystone. Window treatments: Mariak, Cambridge. Workstations: Herman Miller. Lounge seating: Sandler. Cafeteria, dining, auditorium seating: Sandler, Harter. Other seating: Brayton, Turnstone, Forms & Surfaces. Conference table: Convene. Cafeteria, dining, training tables: Sandler. Files, shelving: Steelcase. Architectural woodworking: Custom, Plyboo, 3form. Cabinetmaking: TMI Systems. Planters, accessories: Custom fabricated from steel plate. Signage: Custom signage, Room Signage. Plumbing fixtures: Sterling, Crane, Delta, Lasco, Symmons.

where
Location: Phoenix, AZ. Total floor area: 352,000 sq. ft. No. of floors: 13. Average floor size: 24,500 sq. ft. Cost/sq. ft.: $194.
 


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