Work began on the design in October 2006 and the school opened its doors in August 2008 only 22 months later. The 6-story educational facility features a large forum for public events, five digital newsrooms, two new media laboratories, seven other computer labs, two TV studios and control rooms, dozens of digital editing bays, a 150-seat auditorium, four other fully mediated classrooms, seven conference rooms and a Student Services Center with a reading room and interviewing rooms for internship and job prospects.
The exterior of the building is clad in glass, masonry and multi-colored metal panels in a pattern inspired by U.S. broadcast frequency spectrum allocations (the Radio Spectrum). Sun screens on all four facades reduce the heat gain on the interior of the building. Located right in the heart of downtown Phoenix, the school is conveniently across from the ‘Taylor Mall’ – an urban green belt that runs the full length of the downtown campus and a stop of the Phoenix Light Rail, which encourages the use of public transportation.
The entrance to the school features a 3-story tall, shade providing, ‘front porch’ that connects into the ground floor retail spaces and an amply shaded arcade. The first four flours are occupied by the school, classroom and facilities, while the other floors are used by the Cronkite News Service and KAET Channel 8 Public TV. With reminders of the First Amendment placed all over the building, and a large, scrolling, electronic news ticker highlighting the most current headlines on the exterior of the building, the Cronkite School is sure to inspire the next generation of journalists.
Images ©Bill Timmerman/Ehrlich Architects