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.

Hopkins Architects worked with Burns-Wald Hopkins as Executive Architect, Schneider Structural as Structural Engineers, Arup as MEP Engineers, Barnabas Kane as Landscape Architect, Earl Walls Associates as Lab Consultant, and Kitchells Construction as Quantity Surveyors and Main Contractor 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