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True living lab for students unveiled

Perforated louvers on the south façade are positioned according to a sophisticated algorithm that ensures daytime sunlight control


Aerial view of the hall of residence built for engineers at Arizona State University
Aerial view of the hall of residence built for engineers at Arizona State University

Arizona State University (ASU) in the US has opened a new hall of residence specifically for engineers which enables students to immerse themselves in technology.


The Fulton Schools Residential Community at Tooker House on ASU’s Tempe, AZ campus, has been created in partnership with American Campus Communities, the country’s largest owner, manager and developer of high-quality student housing properties in the US.


The 1,600-person, co-ed residential community for undergraduate students in ASU’s Ira A Fulton Schools of Engineering features on-site digital classrooms, state-of-the-art makerspaces complete with 3D printers, laser cutters, and design tools needed for a broad range of engineering courses and projects.


It will play a prominent role as ASU expands its smart campus capabilities, incorporating sensing and energy efficiency analytics and other Internet of Things (IoT) technologies not only into the building’s operation, but also into the engineering programme’s curriculum.


One of the building’s most striking features, hundreds of vertical perforated louvers on the south façade, each positioned according to a sophisticated algorithm, ensures daytime sunlight control unique to each window’s location. Highly efficient glazing with significant shading capacity allows transparency and daylight without detriment to thermal performance and comfort. Metal window canopies and vertical metal louvers additionally shade windows from direct sunlight while preserving views.


“Innovation has a new home address at Tooker House,” says Kyle Squires, dean of the Fulton Schools of Engineering. “This mixed-use living and learning facility sets a new standard in engineering education and reflects the breadth and depth of the student experience at the largest engineering school in the nation.”


Situated in a prominent location on the ground floor of the building, the maker lab allows students to work on class projects and explore ideas steps away from their living suites – essentially in their living room. The lab features sliding glass walls that encourage activities to spill outdoors, where exhibition pedestals enable students to present their work and invite discussion and feedback.


The seven-story community was built by American Campus Communities on the ASU campus. The residence hall features a 525-seat dining facility, Bluetooth-enabled laundry rooms that notify residents when their clothes are dry, advanced green building technology and enough high speed internet bandwidth to accommodate multiple devices per resident.


“From the high-performance technology infrastructure to the innovative academic amenities within the building, Tooker House was designed explicitly to meet the dynamic needs of ASU engineering students,” said Jamie Wilhelm, American Campus Communities EVP public-private partnerships. “We are proud to partner with ASU and support their vision to advance the model for live-learn communities across the nation.”


Elton Forlemu, an ASU civil engineering sophomore serving as a community advisor in Tooker House this fall, says “the work and study spaces are inspiring.”


Last year, Forlemu lived off campus and spent hours studying and working in engineering classroom buildings, then travelling about 20 miles home to Glendale. He now envisions himself having late-night discussions in Tooker study spaces and then heading to the makerspace or computer lab to collaborate on a project “before it leaves your head.”


Architectural firm Solomon Cordwell Buenz’s design approach to Tooker House began with traditional desert architecture concepts as a starting point for creating a sustainable building that both feels appropriate to its context and can endure harsh desert conditions. The community features a complementary colour palette of desert tones, using colours and materials that will resist fading and degradation under extreme UV exposure conditions.


“Last year, I watched the building process from skeleton to finished project,” says Forlemu, who aspires to build hospitals and large business complexes. “As an engineer, it was fascinating. What gets me is the infrastructure – there is such great use of space here.”



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