The University of Arizona

UA's Phoenix Cancer Center is 'Topped Off,' Joins Award-Winning Medical School Building

By Al Bravo, UA College of Medicine – Phoenix | May 7, 2014

The five-story University of Arizona Cancer Center is the newest addition to the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, which is home to the award-winning Health Sciences Education Building.

(From left) Phoenix City Councilwoman Kate Gallego, UA President Ann Weaver Hart and President and CEO of Dignity Health in Arizona Linda Hunt participated in the Topping Off ceremony on Tuesday.
(From left) Phoenix City Councilwoman Kate Gallego, UA President Ann Weaver Hart and President and CEO of Dignity Health in Arizona Linda Hunt participated in the Topping Off ceremony on Tuesday.

The development of the University of Arizona’s presence in downtown Phoenix continues, with another milestone hit this week.

The new University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health’s St. Joseph’s – an outpatient facility under construction – hit that milestone on Tuesday when the final beam was set atop the building.

The “topping off” of the structure is a traditional construction event, making a key point in the project.

The 220,000-square-foot, five-story, $100 million facility will offer comprehensive cancer services. Under an affiliation agreement with Dignity Health in Arizona, St. Joseph’s Hospital will operate inpatient clinical cancer services at its main hospital campus and outpatient services at the new downtown facility.

The Cancer Center will join an increasingly busy campus anchored by an education building that has already received numerous awards for its architectural design and development. The building is even getting a starring role in a new television show. 

The Health Sciences Education Building, completed during the summer of 2012, houses the University’s expanded medical school as well as smaller programs from Northern Arizona University. The construction of the building capped a long process of unprecedented cooperation between two of the state’s universities, the Arizona Board of Regents, the city of Phoenix, UA employees and students, as well as two architects and two general contractors. (Check out this gallery to see more images of the HSEB.)

The heart of the developing Phoenix Biomedical Campus has amassed a dozen awards from a variety of organizations that recognize the significant architectural design aspects of this facility, including the prestigious American Institute of Architects.

“We are proud that the building has achieved the high level of quality design that has been established at the University of Arizona’s main campus,” said Peter Dourlein, assistant vice president for Planning, Design and Construction at the UA. “It represents the University well in Phoenix, and throughout our state as a sign of innovative leadership in higher education.”

Among the most impressive honors is that of the architects’ institute. The AIA annually recognizes the best of the best in architecture. The Phoenix building received AIA Arizona and regional awards, as well as recognition from AIA chapters in California and Los Angeles, where one of the project’s architects, CO Architects, is based.

The copper-clad facility was also praised for the innovative use of building materials by the Copper Development Association and Metal Architecture magazine.

The complexity of managing a project with two end-users (NAU and UA), two architects and two contractors to create a world-class facility on a tight budget and schedule earned the project team an award from Arizona Commercial Real Estate magazine for the Most Challenging Project of 2013.

“The building is typical of UA projects, which face the challenge of producing a first-class building worthy of attracting and educating top-notch students on a fast-track schedule while being cost-effective,” Dourlein said. “As the first new University building on the UA’s Phoenix campus, it was important to keep the high standard set with the architectural integrity of the Tucson campus.”

Along with the design honors, the building’s sustainable features are being lauded as well. Arizona Forward, an environmental organization, selected the building for a merit award to acknowledge the facility’s environmental design features. The project is seeking LEED Gold certification.

The building even caught the eye of producers of a new national PBS television show spotlighting great architecture. The show, “Cool Spaces,” picked the building along with two hospitals for one of the pilot episodes highlighting outstanding “healing spaces.”

The building also has been featured in magazines and trade publications, the most recent of which was the cover of February 2014 edition of “The Construction Specifier,” a construction industry periodical.

A list of awards received so far:

  • Most Challenging Project, AZRE (Arizona Commercial Real Estate) Red Award 
  • North American Copper in Architecture, Copper Development Association 
  • Best of LA Architects Award, Los Angeles Business Council 
  • Merit Award for Architectural Design, AIA – Arizona 
  • (American Institute of Architects) 
  • Merit Award for Architectural Design, AIA- Western Mountain Region 
  • Honor Award for Architectural Design, AIA-California Council 
  • Citation “Next LA”, AIA – Los Angeles 
  • Best Project – Higher Education/Research, ENR Southwest 
  • (Engineering News Record Magazine)
  • Award of Merit – Buildings and Structures, Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence 
  • Technology in Architectural Practice (TAP) Building Information Model (BIM), AIA 
  • Design Award – Natural Metal Category, Metal Architecture (Magazine) 
  • North American Copper in Architecture, Copper Development Association