Tag Archives: SmithGroupJJR


Project News: May 2015-June 2015


Sundt Construction has been selected as the construction manager at risk for Tucson Airport’s terminal upgrade beginning in late 2015. The construction budget is between $18M and $23M.

Wingspan FrontChandler gets its wings

Chandler approved a 50-year ground lease with WingSpan Aviation Center at Chandler Municipal Airport. The first phase of the project includes an 80KSF hangar building that will be equipped with office spaces. Total build-out is expected to take five years for 250KSF of development.

Rule of Three

The modernization of Sky Harbor Terminal 3 began in March. By next summer, larger security checkpoints and airline ticket counter spaces will be complete. Future phases include redesigned concourses and additional retail. There are three architects on the project: DWL, SmithGroupJJR and Corgan.

Airport I-10 rendering_8.12.14Full house

One of the largest speculative office projects in Phoenix has been more than 35 percent pre-leased. As Airport I-10’s 600KSF phase 1 nears completion, DLS Worldwide, DHL and Pilot Freight Services signed leases at the Wentworth Property Company and Clarion Partners project. JLL handled the leasing.

Plexus New Building ConceptWork it out

Plexus Worldwide — a health supplement seller — broke ground on its 70KSF national headquarters at Pima Center on March 30. This will bring the company’s total square-footage in the area to 100KSF. In the last four years, Plexus has grown from a company with an annual income of $1M to $300M.

Big stretch

The CanaMex Interstate 11 freeway study corridor has been extended from Wickenburg to Nogales. This extension on I-11 brings the potential trade route between Canada and Mexico one step closer to reality.

asperaLap of luxury

The P.B. Bell Companies has begun construction on Velaire at Aspera, an apartment community within the 75-acre Aspera mixed-use development in Glendale. Velaire at Aspera, expected to open in 2017, will offer 286 luxury apartment homes in a resort-like setting, with amenities that include an electric-car charging station and agility dog park. MT Builders, Inc. will serve as the general contractor on the project. Todd & Associates, Inc. is the architect.

Order Up

Site work has begun on a 17-acre parcel of land at the NWC of Houghton and Old Vail roads in southeastern Tucson. The area, dubbed Las Plazas at Old Vail, is slated to become a new retail and restaurant hub. CBRE’s Nancy McClure and Michael Laatsch have the marketing assignment.


Mike Medici moves to SmithGroupJJR’s corporate leadership team

Michael L. Medici, AIA, Russell P. Sykes, PE and Troy D. Thompson, AIA will assume managing partner roles for SmithGroupJJR effective May 18, 2015 upon their election by the Board of Directors.

The three promotions represent an internal succession process started six years ago, and marks the continued evolution of the culture and organization of the oldest architecture-engineering firm in the U.S. In their newly defined roles, they will succeed current President & CEO Carl D. Roehling, FAIA and Chief Operating Officer Randal E. Swiech, PE. Roehling and Swiech will continue to practice with the firm and remain on its Board of Directors. David R. H. King, FAIA, current Chairperson, remains in his role.

Managing Partners

Medici, president and managing partner, will lead SmithGroupJJR’s eight practices and firm-wide marketing functions. He will oversee the strategic growth of the practices, each of which is centered on key client markets. He is currently the Corporate Learning Practice leader and previously served as the director of the firm’s Phoenix and Dallas offices. Chris Purdy, AIA will assume the leadership of the Learning Practice firm-wide.

Sykes, managing partner, will lead the 10 offices of the firm with a focus on improving the quality and efficiency of the firm’s project delivery processes. He was instrumental in championing the development of the Shanghai office in 2013 and will continue to shepherd the firm’s China expansion. His current role as the Science & Technology studio leader in the Detroit office will be filled by Nick Salowich, AIA.

Thompson, managing partner, will lead the firm’s initiatives in talent development, research, knowledge management, and innovative planning/design tools and processes. An historic preservation specialist by practice, Thompson is also the director of operations for the Washington, DC office and will be succeeded by Steven Cohen, AIA.

Succession Process

The three new positions are the result of a succession process that started in 2009. With the realization that much of the current firm leadership was in the same “boomer” generation, there was a desire to manage the retention of senior talent while providing leadership opportunities for future generations. Two new policies were adopted: one was an equity transition policy requiring buy-down starting at age 63, and the other encouraged senior principals to continue to practice with the firm after leaving leadership positions. To identify potential successors for every key role and to manage the development of these potential leaders, a “depth chart” of talent was developed.

Firm leaders agreed that the corporate officer succession process must be seamless, retain valuable expertise in the firm and provide new opportunities for up-and-coming leaders.

“Our goal is to be an industry model for the succession of a partner-owned firm. Our 180 partners are the strength of the firm and our financial autonomy is key to attracting and retaining the best talent,” commented Roehling, outgoing president.

In 2013, Roehling, president, and Swiech, chief operating officer, announced their concurrent plans to transition back into practice in mid-2015. A succession committee of the Board of Directors was formed to determine the leadership needs required to advance the firm. The Committee recommended that three co-leaders would provide greater capacity for change, nimbleness and innovation. It then began the process of identifying internal candidates who might have the skillsets required by the new structure. All of the candidates were members of the Committee and helped to develop the new leadership approach.

King reiterated, “We have been the beneficiary of adding outside talent to our team, but what is most notable is that we had the depth of talent to make this transition possible from within the firm. This ensures the continuity that our clients and staff expect and require.”

A separate nominating committee, which included the two outgoing officers, was convened to select the slate of candidates for approval by the Board. The three finalists were endorsed and charged with detailing their new responsibilities within the current organization.

“Our first task as firm leaders was to design our new roles. We think they both reflect the evolution of our culture and position us for the next 10 years of success,” stated Medici.

In September 2014, the new team started a formal “shadowing” process of the current leaders. They have embarked on a long range planning process that will align firm leadership and address key issues of design excellence, women in leadership and practice innovation. Each will continue to reside in their current office locations.

Roehling and Swiech will continue their current project leadership roles and will expand their involvement in programming and strategic planning. Both support clients in multiple practice areas.


SmithGroupJJR gets new health studio leader

SmithGroupJJR, an architecture, engineering and planning firm, has promoted Craig Passey, AIA, to leader of the Health Studio at its Phoenix office. He succeeds Mark Patterson, who recently was elevated to become the firm’s international Health Practice leader.

Passey has over 20 years of experience in architectural planning and design and is recognized for his expertise in ambulatory care and acute care facilities. In his new role, he will oversee the growing studio and its project delivery and business development efforts throughout the Intermountain region, while continuing to engage with local clients such as Banner Health and Mountain Park Health Center.

Passey joined SmithGroupJJR in 2005 as a senior project manager, bringing a strong background in the planning and design of healthcare facilities.

“Craig Passey has been an integral part of expanding our healthcare client base and strengthening our relationships with both local and regional healthcare providers. His inclusive leadership style is well received in and outside the office, a characteristic of Craig we truly value,” said Brad Woodman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Phoenix office director, SmithGroupJJR.

Among Passey’s most noteworthy projects are VA Outpatient Clinics in McAllen and Harlingen, Texas; Banner Ironwood Medical Center, San Tan Valley, Arizona, a $128 million greenfield hospital; the master plan for the University of Las Vegas Shadow Lane Campus, a proposed 18-acre, shared health sciences campus; and the recently completed patient tower expansion and renovations to Banner Estrella Medical Center, located in Phoenix.

Passey received a Bachelor of Science in Design from Arizona State University and is an active member of American Institute of Architects (AIA) Arizona chapter.


AZ Fallen Firefighter Memorial

Ground breaks on Arizona Fallen Firefighter Memorial

On March 6, ground will break on the first statewide memorial dedicated to the courage and memory of Arizona firefighters and paramedics who gave their lives in service of others.  To date, 105 firefighters and paramedics have lost their lives in Arizona since 1902.

Two Arizona sculptors – Rusty Bowers from Mesa and Paul Olesniewicz from Tucson – are creating 10 life-size bronze sculptures as part of the memorial representing wildland firefighters, paramedics, volunteers and professional firefighters, male and female, representing the diverse culture of the state.

A bell tower and removal seating for 400 will be part of the memorial, but mostly the memorial will be a quiet place to consider the sacrifice and dedication of those firefighters who gave their lives on behalf of Arizona and its families.

In May 2013, Gov. Jan Brewer signed House Bill 2136, sponsored by Rep. Bob Robson, authorizing the construction of a statewide memorial on Wesley Bolin Plaza to commemorate the loss of 105 firefighters and paramedics in Arizona since 1902.  Arizona is one of only nine states without a statewide memorial. Once completed, this memorial will be one of only a handful of state memorials commemorating wildland firefighters, paramedics, volunteers and professional firefighters.

Approximately $950,000 has been raised for the memorial via corporate contributions, about $70,000 has been raised from individual contributions and $150,000 has been contributed via in-kind donations from the project design and construction team. The total project cost is $1.7 million; no public or taxpayer funds are being utilized in this effort.

The project design and construction team includes: United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association (memorial proponent), SmithGroupJJR (design), Rusty Bowers and Paul Olesniewicz (sculpture), Coe & Van Loo Consultants and PK Associates (engineering), and McCarthy Building Companies and partners (construction).

The memorial is expected to be completed in September 2015 and will be celebrated with a formal dedication in October.

2015 RED Award logo

RED Awards 2015: Best Office Project

On Feb. 26, AZRE hosted the 10th annual RED Awards reception at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix to recognize the most notable commercial real estate projects of 2014 and the construction teams involved. RED Award trophies were handed out in 10 project categories, to six brokerage teams and safety, subcontractor, architect, general contractor and developer of the year awards were also presented. AZRE also recognized Sunbelt Holdings President and CEO John Graham with a lifetime achievement award. Click here to view all 2015 RED Awards Winners.



GoDaddy Global Technology Center

Developer: Ryan Companies US, Inc.
Contractor: Ryan Companies US, Inc.
Architect: PHArchitecture (Shell) ; SmithGroupJJR (Interior)
Size: 150KSF
Location: Tempe
Completed: September 2014

The office landscape is changing in many ways, with a strong skew toward playfulness. The GoDaddy Global Technology Center, with its sand volleyball court, basketball court, soccer field, rock climbing wall, high-end cafeteria, workout room, indoor slide between the second and first floor, bright colors, modern design and a race track for employees to “race” to meetings on pedal-carts. It’s hard to believe the original RFP looked for a “down and dirty” call center, as Patrick Hayes of PHArchitecture called it. Once construction shifted to this workplace wonderland, it only took nine months before moving employees in. The building will bring 450 jobs to the center, which will bring 1,300 people to the 12.61-acre campus on the ASU Research Park.


AZRE announces 2015 RED Awards finalists

Every February for the last 10 years, AZRE magazine has shone a spotlight on the commercial real estate industry through its annual Real Estate Development (RED) Awards. This year, a record number of projects and brokerage teams were nominated for a chance to be recognized at this year’s RED Awards.

For tickets to this year’s RED Awards, click here.

After lively debate and a few unanimous decisions among this year’s selection committee, AZRE proudly announces the 2015 RED Award finalists are, in alphabetical order:

Congratulations to this year’s contending projects:
Adelante Healthcare Peoria
Banner Estrella New Tower Addition
Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center Phase II Clinic Expansion
Bottled Blonde/Livewire
Broadstone Lincoln
Chandler Regional Medical Center
CityScape Residences
College Avenue Commons
Coyote Center at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Pecos Campus
CyrusOne, Building 4
General Motors IT Innovation Center
GoDaddy Global Technology Center
Great Hearts Academies, Arete Preparatory Academy
Heritage Marketplace
Lewis Prison Complex Expansion
Liberty Center at Rio Salado
Marketplace at Lincoln & Scottsdale
Mesa Community College Performing Arts Center
Ocotillo Brine Reduction Facility
Phoenix Sky Train Stage 1A
SkySong, The ASU Innovation Center — SkySong 3
Start @ West-MEC, Innovation Center
Sun Devil Marketplace
Sunset Heights Elementary School
Sussex Properties for TLC Label
The Newton
University of Arizona—McKale Center Renovation
University of Arizona—Old Main renovation

And the companies that have been nominated as finalists with the above projects:
ADM Group
Alliance Residential Builders
Alliance Residential Company
Ameris Construction
Arizona Board of Regents
Arizona Department of Administration
AV3 Design
Axis Projects Corporation
Balmer Architectural Group
Banner Health
Butler Design Group
BWS Architects
Cam-8, LLC
Carollo Engineers
Cawley Architects, Inc.
Chasse Building Team
City of Phoenix
Corgan Associates, Inc.
CyrusOne Inc.
Dick & Fritsche Design Group
Dignity Health
DLR Group
DPR Construction
Emc2 Architects Planners, PC
Evening Entertainment Group
Fanning Howey
Fimbres Studio
Follett Higher Education Group
Gannett Fleming, Inc.
Great Hearts Academies
HKS, Inc.
Hunt Construction, an AECOM Company
Iconic Design Studio

Intel Corporation
JE Dunn Construction
John Douglas Architects
Jones Studio
Layton Construction Co., Inc.
Liberty Property Trust
LGE Design Build
Maricopa Community Colleges
Mark IV Capital
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
McCarthy Kiewit Joint Venture
MD Heritage LLC
Modus Development
Mortenson Construction
Okland Construction
ORB Architecture, LLC
Orcutt | Winslow
Peoria Unified School District
Plaza Companies
Poster Frost Mirto
RED Development
RJM Construction
RSP Architects
Ryan Companies US, Inc.
Sundt Construction, Inc.
Sussex Properties
The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
Venue Builders
Venue Projects
Wespac Construction Inc.


Brokerage Team Finalists

Pat Feeney, Dan Calihan and Rusty Kennedy
Todd Fogler, Ryan Eustice and Jami Savage-Gray
Tom Adelson, Jim Fijan, Jerry Robert and Corey Hawley

Leroy Breinholt
Trent Rustan
Tyson Breinholt

Cushman & Wakefield
Chris Toci and Chad Littell
Jackie Orcutt, John Grady and Mackenzie Ford
Larry Downey

Mike Haenel, Andy Markham and Will Strong
Robert Buckely, Tracy Cartledge, Steve Lindley

Anthony Lydon and Marc Hertzberg
Bill Honsaker, Anthony Lydon and Marc Hertzberg
Dave Seeger, Karsten Peterson and Mark Gustin
John Bonnell and Brett Abramson
Mark Detmer and Bo Mills
Pat Harlan, Steve Sayre and Kyle Westfall
Pat Williams, Steve Corney, Vicki Robinson and Andrew Medley

Lee & Associates
Craig Coppola and Andrew Cheney

Velocity Retail
Andy Kroot
Darren Pitts and Dave Cheatham

The project and brokerage team winners will be announced at the RED Awards reception on Thursday, Feb. 26, at the Arizona Grand Resort between 6 and 8 p.m. At the event, winners of AZRE’s 2015 developer, general contractor, architect and subcontractor of the year awards will also be announced.

Tickets are now available for the RED Awards. here for more information.

Scott Kreitlein joins SmithGroupJJR

Scott Kreitlein, SmithGroupJJR

Scott Kreitlein, SmithGroupJJR

SmithGroupJJR has hired  Scott Kreitlein, AIA, LEED AP, as leader of the Science & Technology Studio at its Phoenix office. He joins SmithGroupJJR from HDR, Houston, where he was science & technology principal.

Kreitlein, a 20-year architecture veteran, is recognized for his expertise in the design and planning of biocontainment and animal holding facilities, a specialty that will strengthen SmithGroupJJR’s Science & Technology Practice.

“Scott Kreitlein applies his unique set of skills and learned best practices to meet and exceed the expectations of clients. Simultaneously, he inspires team members to think outside the box,” said Brad Woodman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Phoenix office director, SmithGroupJJR.

Kreitlein’s project experience spans the U.S. and overseas. Notable projects include those at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Covington, Louisiana; the BSRB2 Zayed Building for Personalized Cancer Care for the University of Texas – MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston; and the Taiwan Center for Disease Control near Taipei, Taiwan R.O.C.

Kreitlein earned a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Utah following a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from Brigham Young University. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and is a LEED Accredited Professional by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Kreitlein is a resident of Mesa, Ariz.

SmithGroupJJR hires John Tran as Design Principal at Phoenix office

john tranJohn Tran, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, has been hired as design principal at the Phoenix office of SmithGroupJJR, one of the nation’s largest architecture, engineering and planning firms. Tran joins the leadership team for the firm’s practice in Arizona and the southwest, while providing support to all SmithGroupJJR offices.

An award-winning designer with 20+ years of experience, Tran has led projects as senior designer, project designer as well as design principal. Before joining SmithGroupJJR, Tran was vice president/project designer at HKS Architects, Phoenix, Ariz., where he specialized in office, higher education and retail environments.

“John Tran has the unique ability to craft innovative and sustainable responses to meet a variety of program needs, while leading a team to execute the vision of the client from the inception of the project through its execution. These strengths make him a valued addition to the SmithGroupJJR team,” said Brad Woodman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Phoenix office director.

Tran’s portfolio offers experience not only in the U.S., but internationally as well, with work in China, Japan and Mexico. Among his most noteworthy projects is the School of Rural Public Health for Texas A+M University in College Station, Texas; Chandler Fashion Center in Chandler, Ariz. and Westfield’s Culver City in Culver City, Calif.

Tran received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and a LEED accredited professional by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Current activity for SmithGroupJJR’s Phoenix office includes a number of significant workplace projects in Arizona. The firm designed a 410,000-square-foot campus expansion project for Wells Fargo in Chandler, which when complete in 2015 will feature an innovative, flexible, “offset core” floor plate. In August, a 150, 000-square-foot flagship building in Tempe for global domain registrar GoDaddy, which SmithGroupJJR designed for client Ryan Companies, will complete construction.


Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community goes commercial

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community may have one of the best-located pieces of commercial real estate in the Phoenix Metro. It owns a 9.5-mile long area, known as the Pima Corridor, parallel to the Loop 101, a beltway connected to nearly all area freeways. Of that commercially zoned stretch, 143 acres remain undeveloped. Many Valley residents primarily associate the Talking Stick entertainment district with the Pima Corridor, the SRPMIC is seeking significant non-entertainment development within and without Talking Stick, including two charter schools and also procuring resources to update its existing data center.

“The SRPMIC is a pretty sophisticated community and as the community grows in population and business ventures, the adoption of technology also grows,” says SmithGroupJJR’s Technology Studio Leader Rob Sty. “[Records are] all stored electronically now. The community has gotten to the point that it needs to expand its data.”

As with any building on the community’s land, the data center must incorporate the culture’s aesthetic integrity. The challenge is that data centers, out of concern for security, tend to also be designed as background buildings.

“Architects and engineers do not always get to put that design element into a data center. It’s interesting for us,” Sty says, adding that designing a project for the SRPMIC was a community effort: “It’s a lot more interesting when all the groups are engaged. Everyone has a voice, and you come out with a better project.”

A Talking Stick is a contemporary representation of the traditional O’odham (Pima) calendar stick, on which carvers recorded significant events and milestones throughout the year. It is also the namesake of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s entertainment district, which comprises about half of the tribes’ commercial land reserves. Talking Stick is a 1.1 MSF entertainment district consisting of a casino, resort, golf course, spring training facility and retail center called The Pavilions. Opened in the ‘80s, the Pavilions represents the second carving on Talking Stick’s calendar — the first being the union of the two tribes who comprise the community. The bottom of the stick shows vacant space with room to grow — and one of the many projects underway this year and next may just be the next addition.

The 1.1MSF Talking Stick’s build-up is due to a pro-development attitude of the community leaders as well as developers keen on getting their foot in the door of a burgeoning entertainment district. Since much of the traffic speeds by Talking Stick at 65 mph, designing for the corridor requires those such as PHX Architecture’s Erik Peterson to not only create something fun to visit but also something eye-catching from afar.

Peterson’s design for The Cove Family Fun Center, a metallic mesh-wrapped building with blue accent lighting around it is certainly made to pique the attention of freeway passengers. The building has to capture your attention, he says of his recent work on The Cove Family Fun Center — a 60KSF entertainment center. The basket-like building is set to break ground on SRPMIC later this year. Nick Andrews, developer of The Cove, was drawn to the Salt-River Pima Indian Community for his first project on tribal land due to the community’s proactive reputation.

“They’re really pro-growth when it comes to developers like us who have an entertainment-related venue,” Andrews says.

Just in the last 12 months, Talking Stick has seen development of a Courtyard Marriott, OdySea projects, Top Golf and other attractions. Blessing McAnlis-Vasquez, marketing project manager of Talking Stick, says it’s a combination of tribal leadership and private developers’ vision for tourism and entertainment amenities that has led to its recent success.

“Our leadership always looks ahead seven generations,” McAnlis-Vasquez says, though the present is just as exciting.

Though the SRPMIC has a population of 6,000, Salt River Fields, built in 2009, has more than 12 annual events, some of which bring up to 15,000 guests. The proposed OdySea Aquarium, set to break ground later this year, is designed to accommodate 15,000 visitors a day and will be the largest aquarium in the Southwest. Leasing at the Pavilions is at 87 percent, up from 50 percent at the downturn of the recession.

The shopping center has also seen more than $17M in renovations. Though The Cove Family Fun Center hasn’t signed a lease yet, the 60KSF entertainment venue is working proactively with the tribe to open for business by summer 2015.

When the Pavilions at Talking Stick was built, it was the freshest take on retail super centers. As time passed, ownership and management changed hands and the center fell into disrepair. Marty De Rito and business partner Chuck Carlise scooped up the property for $85M in January 2008 with 85 percent of the property leased. In 10 months, the recession dropped vacancy to 50 percent. Six years later, De Rito is just now breaking even on its purchase.

“This property could have taken our company down,” Carlise says. “Fortunately, now we’re about 87 percent leased. The tribe has been phenomenal in assisting us with the renaissance of this property.”

Just like the road through the center of the Pavilions to SRF, it goes both ways.

It was De Rito who got wind of the Diamondbacks’ desire to move north for spring training in 2009, and Carlise attributes his partner to bringing what would be a catalyst for the entire district to Salt River Fields.

“It’s an interesting thing when you have non-retail activity going on at the center. Salt River Fields helped this property to survive,” Carlise says.

Though SRF was a catalyst for businesses built up around the area and meant a surge of restaurant interest in Pavilions space, there was still one more hurdle De Rito Partners looked to clear — alcohol.

Until 2010, the only establishments that could serve liquor on tribal land were the hotel, casino and golf course — all owned by SRPMIC. De Rito Partners couldn’t bring restaurant tenants to the Pavilions if they needed a liquor license. Now, there’s a Red Robin under construction as well as business with Buffalo Wild Wings.

“There was no barrier for entry after that,” Carlise says.

The other saving graces for the Pavilions — lending (De Rito’s lender was General Electric, a bit more flexible than a regulated bank would have been) and moving an office to the Pavilions.

“We’ve probably saved half a million dollars just being onsite,” Carlise says, adding that the added attention to the property is what has contributed to the Pavilions’ return to its potential.


OdySea Aquarium
odyseaDevelopment and Management Team: Amram Knishinsky, Martin Pollack and Rubin Stahl
General Contractor: McCarthy Building Companies
Architect: Deutsch Architecture Group
Location: Via De Ventura and the 101 in Scottsdale at
the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Size: 200KSF
Brokerage Firm: N/A
Value: $175M
Estimated completion date: 4Q 2015
The OdySea Aquarium will be the largest aquarium in the Southwest and in the unlikely setting of the Sonoran desert. The two-level facility will span more than 200KSF, and visitors will move to each level via acrylic tunnels while viewing animals of rivers and oceans in the world.

noah_websterNoah Webster School – Pima Campus
Developer: Noah Webster Schools & Salt River Devco
General Contractor: Adolfson & Peterson Construction
Architect: Adolfson & Peterson Construction
Location: Pima & Jackrabbit roads, Scottsdale
Size: 51,502 SF
Value: $5.4M
Completed date: July 2014
The two-story framed K-6 charter school facility will feature 32 classrooms, including music and art rooms, a multi-purpose gym with cafeteria and stage, office space, conference rooms, play fields and bus parking. The project has been in planning and design for a number of years and the groundbreaking represents a significant milestone for Noah Webster Basic School and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s STEM education.

Great Hearts Academy – Cicero Campus
great_heartsDeveloper: De Rito Partners Development
General Contractor: Chasse Building Team
Architect: Gensler
Location: NWC Loop 101 & Indian Bend Road, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Size: 85KSF
Brokerage Firm: Keyser/Mulhern Development Team
Value: $10M
Estimated completion date: July 2014
This nonprofit, tuition-free K-12 charter school will cater to 1,200 children in an area that was once occupied by a Chuck E. Cheese at the Pavilions Shopping Center. Phase I will accommodate students in grade K-7 and Phase II to 12th grade.

The Cove Family Fun Center
coveProject Name: The Cove Family Fun Center
Developer: Nick Andrews & David Prom
General Contractor: AR Mays Construction
Architect: PHX Architecture
Location: NEC of the Loop 101 Via de Ventura Interchange on the Salt River-Pima Maricopa Indian Community
Size: 67KSF
Value: $13M
Estimated completion date: Summer 2015
The Cove Family Fun Center is slated to include 19 themed birthday/event rooms, laser tag, bowling, arcade games, laser tag and go-karts.

Sagewood Casita Patio, WEB

Construction on Sagewood Senior Living Casitas Begin Due to Market Demand

Strong community sales and a recovering housing market has spurred the second phase of casitas now under construction at Sagewood, a Life Care Services community featuring resort-like amenities and health care services for senior living.

The detached casitas range from 2,173 to 2,326 SF for a two bedroom, den and two-and-a-half bath design offering a large patio with a fireplace and water feature in addition to extensive desert landscaping. The single-story casitas also feature a two-car garage and provide majestic mountainous terrain and pristine Sonoran Desert views located where north Phoenix meets Scottsdale.

“As a response to market demand and record sales at our Sagewood community, we’re building this second phase of 14 casitas, of which just four are remaining for sale,” said Stewart Ingram, the community’s executive director. Sagewood sold out of its original 24 casitas and the community is 83 percent reserved, with prices starting at $323,300 for residences featuring detached casitas and villas to lofts and apartment homes with a choice of 19 floorplans.

“Our new casita design offers double the patio space from our original plan including a fireplace and water feature in addition to enhanced desert landscaping in the backyard,” he said. “Offering spacious floorplans, generous standard features, and superior construction quality combined with our resort-style amenities and the Acacia Health Center make the casitas a great value for living at Sagewood,” said Ingram.

Construction completion for the casitas is planned for late summer. General contractor is The Weitz Company and Smith Group JJR served as the architect, both of Phoenix.


RED AWARDS 2014: Best Education Project

On Feb. 26, AZRE hosted the 9th Annual RED Awards reception at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix to recognize the most notable commercial real estate projects of 2013 and the construction teams involved. AZRE held an open call for nominations and more than 100 projects were submitted by architects, contractors, developers and brokerage firms in Arizona. Click here to view all 2014 RED Awards Winners.‎

Central Arizona College 
Maricopa Campus
Developer: Pinal County Community College District
Contractor: CORE Construction
Architect: SmithGroupJJR
Size: 76,800 SF
Location: 17945 N. Regent Dr., Maricopa
Completed: July 2013

Central Arizona College created a new campus in the City of Maricopa that brings sustainability and education to the forefront. The three initial campus buildings are sustainable “academic sheds” designed to keep the students cool from the hot desert sun throughout the year. The building materials are utilitarian, natural, low-maintenance and recycled. Nothing is wasted for aesthetics. There is one central water plant that feeds the three new buildings on campus. It’s designed in a manner that considers the campus’ future growth and saves water consumption by 28 percent. The master-planned campus will be 10 times its current size by completion. The innovative and transformative research facility will serve as a vital tool for recruiting top scientists and engineers, and bring the seeds of change to a “bedroom community boomtown gone bust,” as the New York Times once published.

Estrella Hall

Arizona Architects Honored at AIA Awards Gala Saturday

The American Institute of Architects Arizona Design Awards recognize excellence in design, planning and construction of projects located anywhere in the world that are designed by AIA Arizona architects registered and licensed in Arizona.
The awards honor the highest standards of design in response to user requirements, site, context, climate and environment. Each entry, regardless of size or classification, is judged individually on the basis of total design merit.
Awards are given the categories of honor, merit and citation (in order of importantce). Certificates were presented to award-winning AIA Arizona members at the AIA Arizona Design Awards Gala held Nov. 2 at the AE England Building at Civic Space Park in Phoenix.

The Design Firm of the Year award went to richärd+bauer. It was also a good night for Tom’s Thumb Trailhead, which won two awards — as did SmithGroupJJR.

Below is a full list of design award winners:

Project: Tom’s Thumb Trailhead in the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Tom's Thumb Trailhead

Tom’s Thumb Trailhead

Architect: Fucello Architects, LLC
Owner: City of Scottsdale
Contractor: Redden Construction Inc.

Tom’s Thumb Trailhead provides access into the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve multi-use trail network leading to the northern mountain tier, which has long been a destination for rock climbers seeking its world-renowned granite crags and notable rock formation. The project site is located at the northern base of the McDowell Mountains amid a sprawling watershed defined by a relentlessly steep undulating topography and numerous desert washes. Minimizing site disturbance and preservation of natural habitat were underlying values for sustainable design.

The facility provides parking for 224 vehicles, interpretive displays, a formal gathering area for educational venues, equestrian access and waterless restrooms. Sustainable design strategies create efficiency, self-sufficiency, and low-maintenance as the site is remote from municipal infrastructure – no water, no sewer, and no electric services. Through responsible environmental planning and design, this project exemplifies a commitment by Scottsdale and its citizens in achieving environmental stewardship. – Tina Litteral, AIA Executive Director

Project: Desert Courtyard House
Architect: Wendell Burnette Architects
Owner: Steve and Beverlyn Elliott
Contractor: The Construction Zone, Ltd.

Desert Courtyard House

Desert Courtyard House

Mass informed how the designers proceeded to give this home its defining qualities — from the courtyard plan to the split-massing and all the way down to the fittings and fixtures that one touches with the hand or the eye. For instance, the millwork is volumetric only revealing contents within when a contoured bronze void is touched with the fingertips allowing the mass to be gently cracked open. Long fissures in the mill-finish steel plate ceiling reveal light while maintaining the quality of nothingness at night. Mass and the improbability of delicacy discovered within it is what gives the Sonoran Desert its remarkable presence. — Tina Litteral, AIA Executive Director

Project: Central Arizona College Maricopa Campus

Central Arizona College

Central Arizona College

Architect: SmithGroupJJR
Owner: Pinal County Community College District
Contractor: CORE Construction

Project: Casa de Nido Ospre

Casa de Nido Ospre

Casa de Nido Ospre

Architect: Jones Studio, Inc.
Owner: Lisa Johnson and Eddie Jones
Contractor: Design and Building Inc.

Project: University of Arizona Health Sciences Education Building

UA Health Services

UA Health Services

Design & Executive Architect: CO Architects
Associate Architect: Ayers Saint Gross
Owner: Arizona Board of Regents & City of Phoenix
Contractor: DPR Construction/Sundt Construction, a Joint Venture

Project: Shade Platform, Maricopa County Security Building Roof Repair/Renovation

Shade Platform

Shade Platform

Architect: SmithGroupJJR
Owner: Maricopa County
Contractor: The Weitz Company

Project: Arizona State University Health Services Building

ASU Health Services

ASU Health Services

Architect: Orcutt|Winslow
Design Architect: Lake Flato
Owner: Arizona State University
Contractor: Okland Construction

Project: Estrella Hall Expansion + Renovation

Estrella Hall

Estrella Hall

Architect: Richärd+Bauer Architecture LLC

Owner: Maricopa County Community College District
Contractor: Okland Construction


Project: Fireside Elementary School

Fireside Elementary School

Fireside Elementary School

Architect:  DLR Group
Owner:  Paradise Valley Unified School District
Contractor:  CORE Construction

Project: Tom’s Thumb Trailhead in the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Tom's Thumb Trailhead

Tom’s Thumb Trailhead

Architect: Fucello Architects, LLC
Owner: City of Scottsdale
Contractor: Redden Construction Inc.

Project: Energy Systems Integration Facility

Energy Systems Integration

Energy Systems Integration

Architect: SmithGroupJJR
Owner: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Design Build General Contractor: JE Dunn Construction


Million Dollar Casitas Coming To Sagewood Due To Record Sales, Market Demand


Record community sales and a strong recovering housing market have prompted Sagewood, a 278-residence Phoenix luxury retirement community featuring resort-like amenities and the Acacia Health Center, to build an additional 14 casitas soon to be under construction.

Sales are now underway for the detached casitas ranging from 2,173 SF to 2,326 SF for a two bedroom, den and two-and-a-half bath design offering a large patio featuring a fireplace and water feature in addition to extensive desert landscaping.

The stylish, modern living single-story casitas also feature a two-car garage and provide  mountainous terrain and pristine Sonoran desert views located where north Phoenix meets Scottsdale.

“We’re responding to great market demand at Sagewood, since we have sold out of our original 24 casitas,” said Stewart Ingram, the community’s executive director.

Sagewood is nearing 80% reserved, with prices beginning at $316,900 for residences featuring detached casitas and villas to lofts and apartment homes with a choice of 19 floor plans.

General contractor is The Weitz Company and the architect is SmithGroupJJR. Starting price for the new Sagewood casitas is approximately $1M. Construction timetable for building a casita is six to nine months.

 “Our new casitas feature a wonderfully enhanced design with double the patio space from our original plan including a fireplace and water feature in addition to more desert landscaping in the backyard,” he said.

“Offering spacious floor plans, generous standard features, and superior construction quality combined with our resort-style amenities and the Acacia Health Center make the casitas a great value for living at Sagewood,” Ingram said.

Acacia Health Center at Sagewood features 10 apartments, 38 skilled nursing care suites (including 20 private suites) all Medicare certified, and a rehabilitative therapy center.

Life Care Services and Westminster Funds are the joint-venture partners of Sagewood.



DPR Construction's Phoenix Office 1st Net-Zero Commercial Building in Arizona


DPR Construction’s Phoenix office continues to make sustainability history.

The general contractor’s headquarters at 222 N. 44th St. in Phoenix is now the largest building in the world and only the second in the U.S. to achieve Net-Zero Energy Building certification to date.

Its Phoenix office has been officially certified as an NZEB by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) through its Living Building Challenge (SM) program.

rsz_dpr_hq_4Producing as much or more energy than it consumes, the building achieved LEED-NC Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). By being both the owner and contractor for the renovation project, DPR was able to push the limits on its sustainability goals for the circa-1972 building and turned the remains of an abandoned retail boutique into a “living lab” for the Arizona community.

“Net-zero is possible, even in one of the most extreme climates in the country,” said Dave Elrod, Regional Manager, DPR Construction. “We purposely chose a building that was nearing the end of its intended lifecycle in a redeveloping area to show our commitment to Phoenix and to demonstrate the impact revitalization can have on an urban environment.

“This building is another proof point of our ability to walk the walk of sustainability. Our Phoenix office will be a ‘living lab’ where anyone can see firsthand how our sustainable technologies work together in real life.”

The renovated 16,533 SF office building is located in Phoenix’s Discovery Triangle. In less than 10 months, the team, which included national design firm SmithGroupJJR and global consulting firm DNV KEMA Energy and Sustainability, researched, designed, permitted, and built a highly-efficient, modern workplace with a number of innovative sustainability features including:

>> 87 operable windows working in tandem with the energy monitoring system to open and close based on the relative indoor and outdoor temperatures;

>> 87-foot zinc clad solar chimney which creates a convection current to release hot air out of the building while drawing cooler air in;

>> Shower towers that act as evaporative coolers by working together with the operable windows and solar chimney to regulate building temperatures;

>> Twelve 8-foot Isis Big Ass Fans that enable free air flow within the office;

>> 82 strategically positioned Solatubes that nearly eliminate the need for artificial daytime lighting;

>> Online building dashboard to track the energy production of its 78.96 kW DC photovoltaic system and energy consumption of the building;

>> A “vampire” shut-off switch to thwart any electrical devices – microwaves, cellphone chargers, radios – that draw energy from power plugs when there are no occupants in the building.

In addition, the large, open interior encourages creativity and collaboration using only glass walls, plyboo-slat walls and plantings to mark conference and meeting areas. DPR employees are encouraged to take breaks at their onsite gym, two green-screened courtyards, café, or wine bar.

DPR’s headquarters won the 2012 RED Award from AZRE magazine for Most Sustainable Project.

“As we continue to push the sustainability envelope, the design decisions we make are so connected to how our buildings perform,” says Mark Roddy, design principal for SmithGroupJJR.

“We were able to take a 40-year old building and transform it as a living example for the community and DPR’s employees. This project demonstrates that it is possible to live and work sustainably, even in a desert environment.”


Mark Soden

SmithGroupJJR Hires Mark Soden in Phoenix


SmithGroupJJR hired senior landscape architect and planner Mark Soden, RLA, AICP, to lead its Campus, Community and Waterfront studio at its Phoenix office.

Soden joins SmithGroupJJR from his own firm, Soden Planning + Design pllc, a landscape architecture, land planning and urban design firm in Scottsdale.

Prior to that, Soden was a senior planner for the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in its Department of Community Development. Notable projects for Soden include the Tempe Center for the Arts, for which he served as principal–in-charge of site and landscape design.

SmithGroupJJR’s addition of Soden comes as it relocates its campus planning, community planning, and landscape architecture professionals, formerly housed at a separate location in Phoenix at 1425 N. First St., to its main office in the Arizona Center, downtown.

The consolidation of all SmithGroupJJR services to one location in Phoenix is consistent with the firm’s nationwide emphasis on having its myriad of design and planning professionals working under one roof.

“Mark Soden is an excellent addition to lead our award-winning Campus, Community and Waterfronts studio in Phoenix. He has an excellent reputation in Arizona for the planning, design and construction of regions, communities and places that are not only attractive, but sustainable and economically viable, too,” said Brad Woodman, AIA, LEED AP, director of SmithGroupJJR’s Phoenix office.


Mark Patterson

SmithGroupJJR Elects Phoenix's Mark Patterson to Board of Directors

Architecture, engineering and planning firm SmithGroupJJR named three to its board of directors, including Mark Patterson, vice president of the Phoenix office.

Patterson leads the firm’s Health Studio. Since joining SmithGroupJJR in 2004, he has led the studio to numerous successful completions that have brought forth innovative, award-winning designs for healing environments.

Recently completed projects in Arizona for Patterson include several for longtime client Banner Health, including the Ironwood Medical Center in San Tan Valley and a prototype Banner Health Center outpatient clinic in Maricopa.

Among projects currently underway for Patterson are the $90M Craig Rehabilitation Hospital Expansion in Englewood, Colo., which will create the hospital’s new spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation center in 2015; and strategic planning for Capital Health in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Patterson is certified by the American College of Healthcare Architects, and is an EDAC and LEED accredited professional. He graduated from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and is past president of the Arizona and Central Arizona chapters of the American Institute of Architects. He resides in Phoenix.

Also named to the board were Heather Chung, a principal and leader of the Healthcare Planning Studio at the firm’s San Francisco office; and Bill Patek, a vice president and director of the firm’s Madison, Wis., office.





SmithGroupJJR Chosen as Architect for MPHC Gateway Project


Mountain Park Health Center (MPHC) has selected SmithGroupJJR as the architectural firm to lead the design of the Gateway Project, a clinic set to open in 2014 at 3838 E. Van Buren in Phoenix.

The selection process has been underway since early August when a committee was formed to assist in the identification and evaluation of potential architectural firms. A request for qualifications (RFQ) for this specific project was initiated in mid-August, attracting four potential firms.

Through a vetting process that included extensive proposal scoring and ranking, the committee narrowed the field to two firms whose teams each received a face-to-face interview. A committee comprised of MPHC leadership made the final decision.

“The SmithGroupJJR/Kellogg & Associates team was chosen because of their extensive healthcare experience, their understanding of the project vision, and a great proposal and presentation” says Michelle Hernandez, Communications Director. “They presented us with a multidisciplinary team that we feel will help us see our vision of reinventing the community health center to fruition. We look forward to working with their team to create something that will prove to be a great asset to the surrounding community.”

“Our team’s been moved by Mountain Park Health Center’s long-standing commitment to providing all patients – particularly the underinsured – with access to affordable, quality healthcare services,” says Mark Patterson, AIA, leader of the health studio in SmithGroupJJR’s Phoenix office. “We’re honored to be part of a project that will help to advance their model for delivering care to an often overlooked segment of the community.”

The new clinic, will bring affordable healthcare to an additional 12,000 Phoenix residents and will include multiple exam rooms, leasing space for entrepreneurial ventures, Mayo/ASU specialty care and telemedicine, a dental clinic, and more. The clinic will continue Mountain Park’s mission to provide access to affordable healthcare for families.



SmithGroupJJR - Chris Brown

SmithGroupJJR's Chris Brown Elevated to ASLA Fellow

Architecture, engineering and planning firm SmithGroupJJR announced that Chris Brown, FASLA, LEED AP BD+C, vice president and landscape architecture studio director, has been elevated to the Council of Fellows of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA).

The designation of Fellow is conferred upon individuals in recognition of exceptional professional accomplishments over a sustained period of time. Brown will be honored at an investiture ceremony at ASLA’s Annual Meeting and Expo Sept. 30 at the Phoenix Convention Center.

With nearly 30 years of experience, Brown earned a bachelor of science in urban planning and landscape architecture from Arizona State University and a master of science in real estate development from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He is a registered landscape architect in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas and Wyoming, and is a LEED accredited professional. He is also an active member of the Urban Land Institute and board member of the Valley Forward Association.

Brown has garnered the reputation as an innovator and national leader in sustainable site design and restoration for arid environments. He has led landscape architectural design efforts for many notable and award-winning projects throughout Arizona.

Significant works include the Gateway to McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Scottsdale; Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center, Phoenix; and a series of collaborative design efforts for the Phoenix Zoo.

Brown also served as landscape design principal for the 34-acre multi-use George “Doc” Cavalliere Park in Scottsdale.

The park is one of just 150 projects selected into the two-year pilot program conducted by Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™). SITES is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and the U.ited States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.

As part of this pilot initiative, George “Doc” Cavalliere Park is among the first projects in the United States and abroad to demonstrate the application of The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009. The guidelines, released November 2009, establish a four-star rating system based upon a 250-point scale. The park is anticipated to be first SITES Certified project in Arizona.

About The American Society of Landscape Architects

Founded in 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) (www.asla.org) is the national professional association representing landscape architects. ASLA strives to increase the public’s awareness of and appreciation for the profession of landscape architecture and its contributions to quality of life. The organization supports public policy initiatives pertaining to professional licensure, the environment, sustainable design, livable communities, surface transportation, historic preservation, and stormwater management issues, among others. ASLA’s membership totals over 15,400, with fewer than 1,100 receiving the prestigious distinction of fellowship.



Banner Health Center in Verrado to Open Sept. 24

After a long relationship with the community, Banner Health will open its fourth Banner Health Center at 20751 W. Market St. in the community of Verrado.

The new center will begin serving patients in the West Valley on Monday, Sept. 24.

At opening, staff physicians will include a family practitioner and pediatrician, though a third physician is already planned and the center is able to easily grow with community needs. Basic imaging and laboratory services are available onsite for added patient convenience. Electronic medical records at the center are accessible from all Banner hospitals and facilities.

“Banner Health Center may be our first official structure in Verrado, but Banner has a relationship with this community that dates back nearly a decade,” said Jim Brannon, chief executive officer for Banner Medical Group. “We have long provided care to many of its residents via Banner Estrella Medical Center, but are so pleased to bring Banner caregivers close to home for these valued neighbors.”

Verrado, Buckeye and other West Valley residents are invited to attend the Banner Health Center Community Preview Event scheduled Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. to noon at the center. Participants can hear the opening remarks and join in the dedication at 9:30 am, followed by tours, food, screenings, giveaways and information about Banner Health facilities and services. Also, meet physicians and staff from the center, and even make your introductory patient appointment.

Banner opened Banner Health Center in Maricopa on May 16 of this year, and it has already exceeded projections for patient volume. Banner Health Center in Southwest Loveland (Colo.) opened on Aug. 6.

Additionally, there is an existing Banner Health Center in Peoria/Sun City West. There are plans to open yet another Banner Health Center in Surprise in October. Four sites in the East Valley of metro-Phoenix have been slated for 2013.

The project budget was $7.5M. McCarthy Building Companies was the general contractor and SmithGroupJJR was the architect. Phase I was 12,500 SF, 18 exam rooms; Phase III (final build-out) was 36,000 SF, 54 exam rooms.


Banner Estrella Tower

Banner Estrella Breaks Ground On $151M Patient Tower

Banner Estrella Medical Center, recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Valley’s top 10 hospitals, kicked off construction of a $151M patient tower.

Construction of the tower provides an economic injection to the West Valley, creating more than 200 jobs while expanding its emergency room, neonatal intensive care unit and operating rooms.

Last year, the hospital cared for nearly 100,000 patients in its emergency room alone. Additionally, the project is expected to generate hundreds of construction-related jobs during the three-year building timeline.

The new 175-bed patient tower is the second on the Banner Estrella campus and completion is expected in July 2015. McCarthy Building Companies is the general contractor and SmithGroupJJR is the architect.

The groundbreaking  included remarks from Kathy Bollinger, president of Banner Health’s Arizona West Region, Deb Krmpotic and CEO of Banner Estrella.

Located on the SEC of the Loop 101 Freeway and Thomas Rd., Banner Estrella Medical Center is a 214-bed full-service hospital offering general surgery, orthopedics, women and infants services, a full cardiac program with open-heart surgery, emergency services, and medical imaging services.

Banner Estrella is part of Banner Health, the leading provider of health care services in the Valley with 11 hospitals. In 2012, Banner Estrella Medical Center was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top 10 hospital in Arizona and high performing in Diabetes & Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Geriatrics, Nephrology, Orthopedics, Pulmonology and Urology Services.

ironwood cancer & research center - AZRE Magazine May/June 2012

Medical: Ironwood Cancer & Research Center

Ironwood Cancer & Research Center

General Contractor: TBD
Architect: SmithGroupJJR
Location: 3600 block of S. Rome St., Gilbert
Size: 25,000
The $10M project is an expansion of Ironwood Cancer & Research Center’s clinical operations. The new facility will be patient-centered and will include multiple modalities, such as medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical urology and clinical trials. The facility will have state-of-the-art patient areas, exam rooms, full-service chemotherapy suite, pharmacy and radiation therapy vaults. Expected completion is 4Q 2012.

AZRE Magazine May/June 2012

banner health verrado - AZRE Magazine May/June 2012

Medical: Banner Health Verrado

Banner Health Verrado

Developer: Banner Health
General Contractor: McCarthy Building Companies
Architect: SmithGroupJJR
Location: NWC of I-10 and Verrado Way, Buckeye
Size: 12,566 SF
The $4.5M freestanding outpatient clinic is the first project of a master plan for an acute care campus on the Greenfield site in Buckeye. Subcontractors include Midstate Mechanical, S&H Steel, Echo Canyon Electrical, Iron Tree Plumbing and Brothers Masonry. Expected completion is 3Q 2012.

AZRE Magazine May/June 2012

Evidence Based Design In Healthcare Facilities

The Right Prescription: Evidence-based Design In Healthcare Facilities

Evidence-based design in healthcare facilities plays a big role in promoting the healing process

Light a scented candle in one of the hydrotherapy rooms at CareMeridian, a Phoenix rehabilitation facility specializing in spine and traumatic brain injury, and imagine you are in a Scottsdale resort’s luxury spa.

The blue ceiling and sea-themed art on the wall, dimmable lighting and large window overlooking the outside garden are designed to evoke the tranquility of nature. The massive, high-back whirlpool tub, which faces away from the window so patients can enjoy natural light and privacy simultaneously, dominates the center of the space like a throne.

But the faux-wood-plank walls are, in fact, made of durable and easy-to-clean porcelain tile, and the flooring is designed to look elegant but provide easy wheelchair movement, an infection barrier and sound muffling, says Mark LaPalm, president of Blue Desert Interiors.

LaPalm piloted the makeover of an aging nursing home into the high-tech but homelike treatment center for catastrophically ill or injured patients.

The hydrotherapy rooms reflect his use of evidence-based design (EBD), a scientific approach to the architecture and engineering of new and renovated buildings.

CareMeridian administrator Lara Bowles says she is often tempted at the end of day to grab a book and some candles and de-stress in the spa-like setting.

But for a patient, the benefits are substantial — measurably and significantly lowering blood pressure and heartbeat as well as providing the medically indicated hydrotherapy treatment, she says.

Many other CareMeridian features, from use of color to placement of art to the floor and furniture coverings, are EBD-inspired, and Bowles says the design elements help relieve patient and employee stress and enhance patient healing.

Creating the right environment

For healthcare facilities, the EBD concept has become almost de rigueur, says architect Mark Patterson, SmithGroupJJR vice president and Phoenix-based health studio leader.

Patterson is one of about 1,000 healthcare design professionals accredited by the Center for Health Design, an organization with the stated goal: “A world where all healthcare environments are created using an evidence-based design process.”

The philosophy is simple, Patterson says, employing the same scientific principles to building design that govern the practice of medicine, that is, identify a problem, hypothesize a solution, test it, analyze results, and apply new knowledge.

A recent National Institutes of Health report compiled the results of hundreds of such studies indicating a direct correlation between facility design and patient safety.

Some of the bottom-line findings:

  • Single-patient rooms reduce the spread of infections, reduce medical errors and increase patient satisfaction.
  • Flooring materials, lighting and location of nursing work areas can impact patient safety, especially in reducing falls.

“Three common themes — promote healing, recruit and retain staff, and reduce operating costs — prevail in any healthcare project,” says Linda Delano, principal of Phoenix-based Building Possibilities. Delano’s client list includes small doctors offices, large corporate hospitals and everything in between.

It’s relatively easy to convince decision-makers at a large hospital group that eliminating multiple-patient rooms to reduce the spread of infection, or designing a room where the path from bed to toilet is short and obstruction-free, will reduce patient falls and save dollars in the long run.

“It can cost more to build, but if initial construction (of a hospital) is $12 million more, and they avoid one patient fall per year, they have made up for that in just a few years,”  Delano says.

But smaller healthcare providers are slow to come to the table, she says.

And for many of the ethereal elements of healthcare building design espoused by EBD proponents, the evidence is more anecdotal than measurable.

The hypotheses are many, for example, governing the impact of color, noise, daylight, nature, music, art and other environmental factors on patient healing.

Research has attempted to quantify these aspects through patient satisfaction surveys, staff interviews, and even calculating changes in patient length of stay and staff retention. But attributing even positive improvements to a single factor isn’t easy.

Still, Patterson says even if it’s difficult to measure, research shows a connection to nature positively affects patient outcomes.

And that governed the central design of Banner Page Hospital’s recent expansion, which was fashioned in the shape of a nautilus shell with the patient rooms spiraling from the central nurses station and the heads of ER beds facing windows overlooking the “healing garden.”

“It’s a beautiful setting. The staff likes working there, and the patients are happier (as) they are treated with dignity,” Patterson says.

Sometimes the one-with-nature theme can be achieved with simple design changes, Patterson says.

“At Banner Ironwood, we put windows at the end of the long hallways. The natural light brings a connection to nature,” he says. “And we added a smaller lobby, opening onto big external gardens.”

In fact, Banner is poised at the leading edge of the evidence-based design trend, Patterson says.

Kip Edwards, Banner Health vice president for development and construction, shies away from the term, but he is a big proponent of the EBD concept.

Banner is like a big research lab using standard designs that the organization is constantly analyzing and evolving as it plans new builds or renovations of older structures, he says.

For example, Banner’s own research yielded evidence that single-patient rooms provide better infection control, adhere to current and upcoming privacy laws, and, most importantly, promote healing. And they are bottom-line effective, Edwards says.

“There is a cost to single-patient rooms, but it’s fully warranted,” he says. “There are financial penalties for readmission, and just limiting infection problems probably pays for itself.”

Also among the Banner design initiatives garnered through research: reconfiguring nurses work areas to smaller stations outside patient rooms instead of big central hubs improved staff effectiveness and increased nurses’ time with patients — or at least patients’ perceptions of that, he says.

“We test that through patient satisfaction surveys,” he says.

As to the gardens and whether they help reduce patient stays, increase staff retention or boost Banner’s bottom line, Edwards says that’s just intuitive.

“The healthcare environment needs to be calming, peaceful, pleasant, conducive to helping heal. Gardens, natural light, pleasant colors — we think all are important,” Edwards says. “It’s not a fad. It’s well-founded in experience and logic.”

PCH ICUJeff Stouffer, HKS Architects’ healthcare academic and pediatric leader, says that it may not be voluminous, but there is documented evidence about the healing benefits of a connection to nature.

“Some research shows that patients use less medications and are discharged sooner,” he says.

HKS established an in-house research group to compile and analyze evidence to guide healthcare design.

“EBD is a key element in all our healthcare projects, especially in pediatric design,” says Stouffer, who recently completed a new 12-story tower at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

The company was able to determine, through its own research, that standardizing medication room layouts reduces medical errors. As does standardizing the patient rooms’ size, shape, furniture and even headwalls, which provide access to essential medical services, he says.

Headed in the right direction

Another hot-button for EBD proponents is wayfinding, since studies show navigating through winding hospital corridors can be a big stress-inducer for hospital patients, families and visitors.

At CareMeridian, carpet design, wall art and T-junction focal points are designed to ease wayfinding, LaPalm says.

At PCH, each floor has a designated color and animal symbol, Stouffer says, making it easy for even pre-school-age patients and their families to orient themselves.

That’s one of many child-focused EBD elements HKS incorporated into the new wing.

LED lights along the floor that change color and keep kids hopping from one to another, and a “theater of light” in a three-story atrium are what Stouffer dubs, “positive distractions,” aimed at reducing stress for kids and their parents and “letting kids be kids.”

HKS research indicates children’s healing is impacted by parents’ involvement, so the PCH design focused on the worried parents as well as their sick children, he says.

That included orienting the front entrance towards the parking structure and designing family-sized patient rooms. The rooms in the new wing are big enough — and inviting enough — to accommodate parents overnight, even providing room for them to store belongings and work on laptops, Stouffer says.

And the requisite connection to nature is crucial for confined and anxious parents as well as the patients, so every room has a window with a mountain view.

“(Connection to nature) was a recurring theme when we met with parent advisory groups,” Stouffer says.

Scottsdale Healthcare Healing GardenScottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak’s healing garden incorporates water, light, “meditation pathways” and desert plants to provide a “therapeutic environment” for patients, according to global design firm Gensler.

It’s a good example of the company’s use of the EBD philosophy in healthcare settings, says Beth Harmon-Vaughan, director of Gensler’s Phoenix office.

But it’s only one tool in the architects’ toolbox, she says.

“EBD has been part of our approach for the last four or five years, but we are always looking to innovate, and a strictly EBD approach may miss opportunities,” Harmon-Vaughan says.

The relatively new trend is, in fact, always looking backwards at proven results, but Harmon-Vaughan says designers have to look ahead, too.

She cites, for example, a Tulsa, Okla., cancer-treatment facility Gensler recently designed.

“In this case, we wanted to dig deeper into interviews with doctors to understand the nature of the issues, and we discovered cancer treatment is going to change. They don’t know how it will change, but they know change is coming as the disease (morphs) from fatal to chronic,” she says. “So we needed to design around change.”

For example, the treatment center may need a large number of suites for chemotherapy infusion now, but infusion may not even be a regular cancer treatment in the future.

“They may not need 60 exam rooms with plumbing in the walls,” Harmon-Vaughan says.

The design solution, which she describes more as out-of-the-box than evidence-based, includes dismountable walls, nurses stations and even the vault, sliding barn doors, flexible flooring and under-floor access to everything — from technology to plumbing — that might otherwise be in the walls.

“We put it together like LEGOS,” she says.

And it’s not just cancer treatment centers that need to be adaptable.

“Right now, the healthcare industry is going though transformational change. Hospitals in 20 years won’t look the same, but the changes will be based on outcomes,” says SmithGroupJJR’s Patterson.

Since EBD is a process and not specific elements, Patterson says it will be a key factor in future healthcare design.

“I believe it is big. It’s not a fad,” he says.

Building Possibilities’ Delano agrees that as the body of evidence grows, the concept will be compelling to everyone in the healthcare industry.

“Will we call it EBD in 20 years? I don’t know. But we’ll still be using these principles,” she says.

RED Awards 2012 - iPic Theater

RED Awards 2012: Best Retail Project, iPic Theater /Tanzy/Salt

On March 1, AZRE hosted the 7th Annual RED Awards reception at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix to recognize the most notable commercial real estate projects of 2011 and the construction teams involved. AZRE held an open call for nominations and a record 116 projects were submitted by architects, contractors, developers and brokerage firms in Arizona. This year, the winner for Best Retail Project was iPic Theater /Tanzy/Salt.

Best Retail Project

iPic Theater /Tanzy/Salt

Developer: iPic Theaters
Contractor: A.R. Mays Construction
Architect: TK Architects
Size: 50,000 SF
Location: 15257 N. Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale
Completed: January, 2011

iPic TheaterThe iPic Theater $6M retail project, an innovative movie and dining experience, took less than five months to complete at Scottsdale Quarter. The construction team overcame several challenges to produce a unique retail experience: limited scheduling, and weight restrictions involving acoustic concrete slabs. Working with an out-of-state architect and owner on this new prototype also presented challenges for the construction team. Changes were made from the beginning until almost opening day. Amenities include LED lighting around the radius  of the shimmer screens, which adds to the theatrical ambiance. At Salt, patrons sit at an oval-shaped bar set before a 28-foot-tall backlit wine bottle display.


Video by Cory Bergquist

Honorable Mention

American Sports Complex- Retail Center

Developer: City of Avondale
Contractor: Sundt Construction, Inc.
Architect: SmithGroupJJR
Size: 20,000 SF
Location: 755 N. 114th Ave., Avondale
Completed: September, 2011

Video by Cory Bergquist

RED Awards 2012 Winners & Finalists

AZRE Magazine March/April 2011