The new home for the arts college of a leading US university is wrapped in a bioclimatic façade that minimizes heat gain and glare from its desert environment and reduces energy use by nearly 20%. An arts entrepreneurship catalyst and residential academic campus, Arizona State University’s Fusion on First promotes career success for students majoring in visual arts, popular music, and fashion design in a carefully articulated, energy-efficient building. In collaboration with ASU’s J. Orin Edson Entrepreneurship + Innovation Institute, Fusion on First is an arts incubator and creative hub, placing students of ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts in the heart of downtown Phoenix, expanding opportunities for interacting with the Phoenix arts community while serving as a magnet for revitalizing the city’s cultural district.
Fusion on First is a vertical residential campus that stacks 13 floors of apartment style living above a three-story high-tech innovation hub. The central stair hall in the college’s innovation hub encourages community and interdisciplinary collaboration while diffusing natural light into studios, exhibition space, and classrooms. The design re-envisions the traditional learning environment to support students in experiencing the full cycle of creative production they’ll need to master in their professional careers. Studios, classrooms, and fabrication spaces are organized into zones that transition from indoor to outdoor spaces, with the ground floor serving as a micro-marketplace. Including housing at the school fosters more equitable learning and professional experiences for students who might not have the financial means to access them otherwise, setting them on stronger career paths.
Emblematic of abioclimatic approach, the 283,000-square-foot building was designed to address the unique challenges presented by the extremes of a harsh desert environment. Its mass was formed into a L-shape, placing as much of its surface area facing northeast to lower heat gain. The building is wrapped in floor-to-ceiling glass shaded by façade overhangs, ultra-high strength cementitious cladding and insulated metal panels, which keep the facility cool. To diffuse natural light, self-shading and proper glass orientation were optimized through iterative data-driven daylight and energy simulations conceived with simulation software that yielded a façade design that reduces energy use up to 17%. The result is a building that draws in maximum daylight while both reducing glare and keeping the interiors cool, ensuring thermal comfort, and supporting the well-being of those working and living at Fusion on First.