By removing 14 acres of asphalt and concrete and transforming it into a desert landscaped mall, storm water is slowed, captured in smaller detention basins throughout the new mall and in turn, used to nourish the desert landscaping. The strategy minimises the load on the existing storm water detention basin, but more importantly, it establishes a beautiful indigenous landscape as the heart of the new campus.
Flexibility and growth were central considerations. Consequently, the design relies on simple well-lit classrooms configured around a repetitive 30’ x 30’ module. Utilities and duct chases are located within the atria allowing the interior space to remain unobstructed facilitating future reconfiguration.
The use of a locally manufactured desert tough material palette and expressed building systems are both cost effective and responsive to the desert context. Purposeful environmental strategies such as narrow building sections, shading devices and solar orientation allow 90% of the spaces to be effectively daylit, reduce thermal loads and contribute to its LEED Gold rating. The design's materiality, environmental and architectural strategies lead to an identity that is unique to its place and expressive of the Polytechnic’s identity. The entire project, from master plan to construction start, was designed in seven months and was built for $240 per sq ft.