Los Angeles-based Co Architects just finished work on the new Biomedical Campus Health Sciences Education Building in Phoenix, Arizona. The massive building – which has already earned a LEED Silver certification – is clad in a perforated skin made up of almost 5,000 recycled copper panels that create a resilient envelope designed to withstand the city’s extreme desert climate.
Located on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, the massive 10-story building is 245,000 square feet and houses two 80-seat auditoriums, along with eight floors of laboratory space. The design of the building’s innovative cladding system was inspired by the need to create a resilient building that would withstand Arizona’s extreme dry heat while providing comfortable interior space for the large building.
To create the cladding, the architects used almost 300,000 pounds of molded recycled copper panels to create an airy, striated sunscreen that shields the interior from direct solar exposure while providing ventilated air on the inside.
To create the airy facade, the architects used a Building information modeling (BIM) software to create 3D models of the exterior panels. The team then collaborated with Chandler-based Kovach Building Enclosures to form, bend and perforate some 4,800 panels to create the envelope, which includes 2-inch air space, rigid insulation, and a waterproofing membrane. The integrated system not only allows natural light to enter the building, but was also formed to create dual building wings that mimic the shape of a tall, narrow canyon-esque landscape.
The copper cladding for the building is made up of 90 to 95 percent recycled material, which helped the design achieve a LEED Silver certification.