Northern Arizona University: Applied Research and Development Building

The centrepiece of a $100 million green redevelopment within the main campus.

The Applied Research and Development Building brings ecological and biological research departments together with local, innovative small business to create a new hybrid type of University building. The building achieved LEED 'Platinum' status and has become one of the most sustainable buildings in the United States.

The building has a curved form with a full-height atrium orientated to optimise passive solar collection. This heats the building completely by the power of the sun in the winter, and during the summer, a passive ventilation and cooling strategy is utilised to keep the building comfortable. These systems were integrated into the building fabric in such a way to allow students to learn by observing. The building, in this sense, has become a pedagogical, living laboratory.

Local materials such as Navajo Sandstone and Ponderosa Pine were used on the façades to create a contextual and suitable response to the local climate and culture.

We worked with Tucson based firm Burns Wald Hopkins who were the Architects of Record on this project.


  • Location Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
  • Value $26 million
  • Size 6,503 m²
  • Client Northern Arizona University
  • Year 2007

Selected Awards

  • RIBA International Award
  • Institute of Sustainable Laboratories ‘Go Beyond Award’
  • AIA Southern Arizona: Honor Award
  • AIA Arizona: Public Service Energy Award
  • Structural Engineers of Arizona: Award for Excellence in Structural Engineering
  • Holcim Awards: Acknowledgement